Trainer Kenny Smith Suspended 15 Days: 'Credible Evidence' Methamphetamine Positive Caused By Groom - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Trainer Kenny Smith Suspended 15 Days: ‘Credible Evidence’ Methamphetamine Positive Caused By Groom

Trainer Kenny Smith

The Board of Stewards at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Ia., has issued a 15-day suspension and $1,000 fine to trainer Kenny Smith after his trainee, Drag Malibu, tested positive for methamphetamine on May 29, 2022. According to the ruling, “credible evidence” was brought forth during Smith's hearing to suggest that the positive test was the result of contamination from a groom.

The groom, Jason Brooks, tested positive for methamphetamine (among other drugs) on June 8, 2022, when Prairie Meadows had him submit to a drug test after causing a disturbance in the stable area. As a result, Brooks' license was summarily suspended.

During Brooks' hearing on July 1, 2022, the groom told the board that he put the bridle and tongue tie on Drag Malibu on race day and that the methamphetamine could have been on his fingers and thus could have been on the tongue tie.

The Association of Racing Commissioners International, Inc. (ARCI), which publishes the Drug Testing Standards and Practices Program Model Rules Guidelines, currently classifies methamphetamine as a Penalty Class A (ARCI-011-020 (E)). The recommended penalty for a first offense is a minimum 1 year suspension absent mitigating circumstances. The ARCI also recommends the horse be disqualified, loss of purse and the horse pass a commission – approved examination before becoming eligible to be entered.

During the stewards' hearing on Smith's suspension, held on June 30, 2022, Smith told stewards that Brooks was responsible for the both the race-day and daily application of the tongue tie on Drag Malibu. Assistant trainer Tyrone Shaw confirmed those statements, and veterinarian Dr. Gordon testified that Brooks held Drag Malibu during routine evaluations.

The board of stewards' report notes that research shows medications which are administered sublingually dissolve under the tongue, without chewing or swallowing, absorption is quick, and higher drug levels are achieved in the bloodstream.

For those reasons, in determining the penalty for Trainer Smith, the board of stewards found that there were mitigating circumstances in Drag Malibu's methamphetamine positive.

“There is credible evidence that “Drag Malibu's” positive was caused by Groom Brooks,” the ruling states.

Stewards issued Smith a 15-day suspension and a $1,000 fine, while Drag Malibu was disqualified from his first-place finish in the third race on May 29 at Prairie Meadows. All purse monies were ordered to be redistributed accordingly.

In addition, Drag Malibu has been placed on the vet's list and “must pass a Commission-approved exam” before being allowed to run.

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