ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Racing Commission on Thursday upheld its 20-year suspension and $20,000 fine against horse trainer Jeffrey Heath Reed, who was sanctioned last year after four of his horses tested positive for dermorphin, a potent painkiller said to be 40 times more powerful than morphine.
Reed had trained five first-place finishers in the May 2012 qualifying races for the $600,000 Ruidoso Futurity. Four ultimately tested positive for dermorphin, a substance originally derived from the secretions of a South American tree frog. Dermorphin can be used to mask a horse’s injuries, which can lead to a catastrophic injury that threatens the horse and jockey.
The Racing Commission sanctioned Reed in October 2012, but he appealed the penalties, which the commission upheld Thursday.
A motion by Racing Commission chairman Rob Doughty III to forward Reed’s case to 12th Judicial District Attorney Diana Martwick for possible criminal prosecution passed unanimously Thursday.
“This commission is interested in seeing Reed being criminally prosecuted … to stop this behavior,” Doughty said.
Reed was one of three trainers sanctioned for using dermorphin on their horses during Ruidoso Downs’ 2012 racing season.