Farias Horses Disqualified

Six horses disqualified due to medication violations.

By Andrea Caudill and Richard Chamberlain
January 11, 2012

Adan Farias

Adan Farias

The California Horse Racing Board has filed six complaints for alleged drug medication violations against leading trainer Adan Farias.

In a December notice, the CHRB alleged that Farias violated medication rules relating to the medication zilpaterol found in urine and blood samples. Zilpaterol is a beta-2 agonist typically used in livestock production to promote lean muscle growth. These are Class 1 violations, which involves stimulant and depressant drugs that have the highest potential to affect performance and have no generally accepted medical use in the racehorse. Hearings are pending.

In a January 9 hearing, all six horses in question were disqualified from their placings, and all purse monies associated were ordered to be returned and redistributed.

The horses include five that raced during the Bank of America Challenge Championships on October 29. They are Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G1) winner T Gold J; John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) dead-heat winner Illegal Smile and third-place finisher FDD Moon; Azshecanfly, who was second in the AQHA Members Plus Stakes; and Deep Creek Bobbie, who won the Nutrena Starter Allowance. Also included in the complaint is In A Separate Class, who won a $16,000 claiming race on October 23.

Tremor Enterprises’ Feature Honor has been moved to first place in the $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G1). The Feature Mr Jess colt is out of the Holland Ease mare Honor Ease. Bred by Henry Brown, the bay was trained by Felipe Quintero and ridden by Ramon Sanchez. Dean Frey’s homebred Shez Jess Toxic, who finished in a dead heat in the $145,500 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) has been declared the sole winner of the race. The Take Off Jess filly is out of the Victory Dash mare Dashing Fly Lady. She is trained by her owner and breeder, and was ridden by Cody Jensen.

According to CHRB records (available on their website), Farias since 2004 has had more than 15 medication violations. In 2008, he had three clenbuterol overages and two NSAID overages, the final of which resulted in a $10,000 fine and a year suspension. The suspension was stayed after three months and he was put on probation for the remainder of the suspension year.

Since 2006, Farias’ trainees have won 1,099 of 5,113 starts, including 88 stakes wins. His runners have earned more than $15.4 million. His Grade 1 winners are world champion Freaky, champion Little Bit Of Baja, One Quick First Down, First Down Illusion, Fighter On Fire, Snitcher, A Stoli Mate, Harems Last Dash, Hulapai, What A Performance, A Mere Chocolate and Five Bar Molly. In 2011, Farias was the No. 4 trainer in the nation by money earned, with $2,005,030; and No. 2 by races won, with 100 wins in 560 starts in the year.

Farias’ stable at Los Alamitos was disbanded in November. Calls made to Farias for comment were not returned.

Los Alamitos has taken strong steps against illicit drug usage. As of October 14, the authorization for the threshold level for clenbuterol was suspended in Quarter Horse races, so if the lab detects clenbuterol at any level, it will be a violation.

In September, former world champion Freaky finished first in the Go Man Go Handicap (G1). However, he then tested positive for a clenbuterol overage, and was subsequently disqualified from the race. While formerly trained by Farias, the horse raced for trainer Sergio Fiscal in the Go Man Go. At that time, Los Alamitos owner Dr. Ed Allred addressed the subject of drug usage, saying: “We’re not going to put up with this. We’ve got to clean up racing, and once a violation has occurred – and particularly multiple violations – those horses and those people aren’t going to run here at my track anymore.”

“AQHA fully supports the CHRB and Los Alamitos in their efforts to address medication usage within American Quarter Horse racing in their jurisdiction,” said AQHA Executive Director of Racing Trey Buck. “This includes the steps they have taken with regards to clenbuterol. AQHA hopes that owners and trainers will think about what they are doing to horses and the sport when they misuse drugs and medications, but we also know that when there is money on the line some people will do anything to win. AQHA is committed to doing what we can to educate horsemen and working with all industry groups to make the sport safe for horses and horsemen.”

The Equine Health, Welfare, Integrity and Research Subcommittee (EqHWIR), a subcommittee of the AQHA Racing Committee, is dedicated to addressing industry issues to keep jockeys and horses safe. AQHA is also a member of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.

In a statement released in December, the subcommittee said, “Rule 302 in the AQHA ‘Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations’ states that ‘Without necessity of referral or recommendation by stewards, to enhance penalties and sanctions, AQHA reserves the right to independently direct disciplinary action or sanction against individuals coming under AQHA recognition by their participation in American Quarter Horse racing conducted under the provisions of the AQHA Official Handbook and regulated by duly authorized state racing commissions…’

“The EqHWIR will monitor each situation and work with state racing jurisdictions involving medications, abuse and other issues concerning American Quarter Horses and at the appropriate time recommend penalties to the AQHA Executive Committee against the offender(s).

“The EqHWIR strongly encourages all AQHA members and horsemen to work with their respective racing stewards, commissions and the AQHA Racing office and to report any person violating the rules and regulations of the state, Association of Racing Commissioners International and AQHA to protect the horses, horsemen and fans that enjoy and participate in the sport of American Quarter Horse racing and all horse racing.”