Posted at: 05/31/2013 7:30 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Ruidoso Downs’ officials are cracking down. 17 horse trainers are banned from the track. They’re facing a ban ranging from one to 21 years.
“I've talked to a few of them," Blane Wood, a horse trainer, said. "They've gone through the appeal system, they're devastated, it took away their livelihood."
The suspension comes after their horses tested positive for illegal drugs.
"I've been covering quarter horse racing for 35 years and I can't offhand recall a circumstance where this has happened," Ty Wyant, Director of Media Relations at the track said.
Shaun Hubbard, Ruidoso Downs’ race track general manager tells KOB Eyewitness News 4 improved technology is helping to catch cheaters.
"The testing has been around for years, but the upgrades in laboratories, the testing capabilities in recent years have changed drastically for the better," Hubbard said.
Track officials say the testing is done at every race to ensure integrity.
“To get some of the people that don't belong here, out of here," said Hubbard.
Executive Director of the New Mexico Racing Commission Vincent Mares said this is the first time the commission has handed down a 21 year suspension.
"I think it surprised a lot of them," said Wood.