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Commission upholds horse trainer sanctions

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Racing Commission on Thursday upheld its 10-year suspension and $10,000 fine against horse trainer Carlos Sedillo, who was sanctioned last year after two of his horses tested positive for dermorphin, a potent painkiller said to be 40 times more powerful than morphine.

The positive tests turned up on May 25, 2012, during qualifying races for the upcoming $600,000 Ruidoso Futurity at Ruidoso Downs.

Dermorphin, originally derived from the secretions of a South American tree frog and later synthesized in labs, 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 Sedillo last year, but he appealed the penalties and was allowed to continue racing during the appeals process.

Sedillo was also ordered to return $4,200 in purse money.

Racing Commission executive director Vince Mares said Sedillo’s case will be forwarded to 12th Judicial District Attorney Diana Martwick for possible criminal prosecution.


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Sedillo is one of three trainers sanctioned for using dermorphin on their horses during Ruidoso Downs’ 2012 racing season.

The Racing Commission earlier this year upheld its 20-year suspension and $20,000 fine against horse trainer Jeffrey Heath Reed, who was sanctioned after four of his horses tested positive for dermorphin.

Trainer John H. Bassett, who had two horses test positive for dermorphin, was suspended for 10 years, fined $10,000 and ordered to return $2,450 in prize money.