Seven Trainers Served Notices for Clonidine Positives

The Nebraska State Racing Commission has served hearing notices to seven trainers of horses whose post-race samples tested positive for clonidine, a drug used in humans to treat high blood pressure. The commission released the names of the trainers Thursday as a matter of public record.

Denny Oelschlager, executive secretary for the racing commission, said the trainers are Larry Donlin (four positives), Jack Coatney (two positives on the same horse), and Gordon Hansen, Phil Cirian, Herb Riecken, David Anderson, and Robert Bowman, each with one positive.

All the post-race samples came from horses who competed at Fonner Park, the Grand Island track that opened for its live meet Feb. 16. Oelshlager said the horses in question raced during a three-week period in early March.

Hearings had been scheduled for April 25, but legal action has set them back to an undetermined date. The trainers couldn't be reached immediately for comment.

According to Equibase trainer standings for Fonner Park, through April 8 with nine victories, Anderson was sixth with seven wins, Hansen and Donlin were tied for seventh with six wins, and Bowman was 14th with five wins.

As of Thursday, Oelschlager said none of the trainers had requested a split sample. In an earlier interview, Oelschlager said the trainers have cooperated and even offered prescription bottles or veterinary records.

Clonidine is a Class 3 drug under guidelines of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. The guidelines recommend loss of purse for any horse that tests positive for the drug, and trainers can be suspended from 60 days to six months. Fines of up to $1,500 are possible.