March 12, 2012
Champion trainer Paul Jones, the leading conditioner in the industry, has received a suspension and fine by the Sunland Park board of stewards for a positive test for a Class III substance detected in one of his horses that raced last summer at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico.
The ruling is under appeal.
According to a notice by the New Mexico Horse Racing Commission, the ruling was issued February 24 by the Sunland stewards. The ruling concerns a positive test for zilpaterol in Jess Hi Maintenance, which finished first in the 10th race on Friday, July 8, at Ruidoso Downs, in a non-qualifying trial for the Rainbow Futurity (G1). The lab report from Iowa State University (the official testing lab for the New Mexico Racing Commission), indicated 22 ng/ml, and the split sampling by Texas A&M University confirmed zilpaterol at 21.6 ng/ml.
For the violation, the stewards disqualified Jess Hi Maintenance from first and placed the filly ninth and last in the race. The stewards also ordered the loss of Jess Hi Maintenance’s share of the purse, that Jones’ license be suspended for 60 days (February 29-April 28) and that the trainer pay a fine of $1,500.
“We think this is somehow a contaminant,” said Jones, who has been the AQHA Champion Trainer each year since 2002. “I have never given anything like this to any of my horses.
“It’s under appeal,” he continued. “We are looking into this, investigating it and trying to find out how zilpaterol got into one of my horses. I won seven races that day, and this is the only horse that showed anything. It’s nothing that I have ever given to any horse, and never would I give it or anything like it to a horse.
“I understand that I’m kind of high-profile in this,” Jones said. “But I can say I am absolutely opposed to these kind of things. I have always been one of the leaders in the fight against drugs.”
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