New Mexico Commission Fines Owner $15,000

Alberto Villanueva was fined for owning five Quarter Horses who tested positive for Clenbuterol.

Edited press release

The New Mexico Racing Commission has fined Quarter Horse owner Alberto Villanueva a total of $15,000.

The New Mexico Racing Commission has fined owner Alberto Villanueva $15,000 for owning five Quarter Horses who tested positive for the prohibited substance Clenbuterol.

According to a press released issued by the commission, Villanueva’s problems started in May 2016, when he had horses under the care of Sierra Moseley, a newly licensed trainer. Under Moseley’s care, two of Villanueva’s horses -- Dyna O Mite and Burns Folly -- tested positive for Clenbuterol through the NMRC’s enhanced out of competition testing program. According to the NMRC ruling, the horses were put on the Stewards list and ineligible to run for a period of 60 days, from June 11-August 10, 2016.

After the two horses were removed from the Stewards list, they went back to racing from the barn of trainer Victor Rodriguez-Flores.

"Villanueva’s problems would rapidly be compounded with his association to Rodriguez-Flores," the commission statement staid. "By September 10, 2016, another one of Villanueva’s horses, Woody Can Do, tested positive for clenbuterol at Zia Park in a postrace test. This would be Villanueva’s third positive within a five-month period. The agony did not stop there. On September 11, 2016 and September 25, 2016, Villanueva would pick up his fourth and fifth clenbuterol positives when his horses Dyna O Mite and Delightning Teller, also under the care of trainer Victor Rodriguez-Flores proved positive in postrace tests."

According to New Mexico’s Administrative Codes, the NMRC can penalize an owner up to $5,000 after their second “penalty B” drug violation, which is the penalty category that Clenbuterol falls into. Stewards at Zia Park Racetrack, led by presiding steward Violet "Pinky" Smith, ruled on the last three positives levied a $5,000 fine for each additional violation for a total of $15,000.

“If this doesn’t send a strong message, it should," Smith said. "If an owner doesn’t change their way of thinking or does not put distance between them and a trainer with multiple drug violations, then I feel the owner is condoning the trainer’s action."

Any future Clenbuterol violations can cost Villanueva at least $5,000 apiece.

"The NMRC has been at the forefront in the battle against the abuse of Clenbuterol in race horses and has recently taken some major strides in conjunction with industry stakeholders in fighting the abuse," said commission executive director Ismael "Izzy" Trejo. "With the implementation of our new 60 day Stewards list rule, Mr. Villanueva has lost valuable time and money in regards to these positives. After we put the horses 'in jail' for 60 days, take the purses away and fine you, it all adds up”.

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