Kentucky-based trainer Kellyn Gorder has been suspended a total of 14 months and fined $5,000 by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards after a horse in his care was found to test positive for methamphetamine at Churchill Downs last November and another search of his barn found improper injectables and syringes.
According to the ruling, Bourbon Warfare, a Colonel John filly owned by Bourbon Lane Stables, tested positive for methamphetamine after finishing first in the 11th race at Churchill on Nov. 22. Methamphetamine is classified as a Class A drug by the KHRC as a drug that has "no legitimate therapeutic value in the equine athlete." The sample was detected by testing done by LGC Science Inc, the official testing laboratory of the commission and confirmed at the University of California-Davis.
Gorder was suspended for one year effective May 1, 2015, through April 29, 2016, for the above infraction. He was also suspended 60 days from April 30, 2106, to June 28, 2016, after a search of his barn on Dec. 27, 2014 at Keeneland turned up injectable medications, hypodermic syringes, and a needle "by a person other than a veterinarian licensed to practice veterinary medicine" and oral medication "not properly labeled or validly prescribed by a veterinarian."
Gorder said he planned to appeal and, in a statement issued Wednesday, said he believed the positive test of Bourbon Warfare was due to contamination.
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"I am devastated, not just for me but for my clients and my employees,' Gorder said in the statement. "I love horses. Period. They are my passion, my profession, my life. I would never, ever do something or give something to one of my horses that would in any way put them or the people around them in jeopardy, or gain them an unfair advantage over their competition. To put it bluntly, I did not, nor would I ever, give a horse methamphetamine, nor have I ever done or been in contact with methamphetamine.
"The levels of methamphetamine found in Bourbon Warfare's bloodstream suggests this is a contamination situation rather than doping. I have drug tested all 31 of my employees since learning of this positive, and all came back clean for methamphetamine and all other Class A drugs. I don't know whether it was a person walking through the barn one day with something on their hand and fed a horse a mint, or someone touched paper money with residue on it and then tied a tongue tie before her race. I am completely puzzled. I want to get to the bottom of it and find out where the contamination came from. I am looking into an appeal so I can better present my case before the authorities."
Gorder's statement went on to address his second violation.
"In early 2014 there was a horse in my care for training who had an infected artenoid chondroma and needed 14 days of Naxcel nebulizer treatments, which had been prescribed by a veterinarian. The protocol for administering Naxcel, which is an antibiotic, via the nebulizer includes the use of a syringe and a needle to combine the Naxcel and sterile water and put it in the nebulizer so the horse can inhale the antibiotic treatment. I keep syringes in my barn to give oral medications and eye medications as well. I never injected the horse with the Naxcel. I only used the needle for the nebulizer treatments. The horse shipped out in June of 2014 and unfortunately I did not dispose of the medication and needle upon his departure properly as I should have, thus they were found in my possession when my stable was searched."