Frog juice drug resurfaces at Louisiana racetracks; vet charged

Waxy tree monkey. Getty images.

BATON ROUGE, LA — Do you remember the Louisiana trainers that were busted for giving racehorses the illegal drug Dermorphin? Well, they’ve been at it again. Only this time the racetrack vet is taking the fall and has reportedly been charged along with a healthcare company.

ABC via the Associated Press reports:

A Louisiana veterinarian has been charged with engaging in a scheme to influence the outcome of horse races by illegally treating the animals with a synthetic version of a drug known as “frog juice.”

The federal indictment accuses the veterinarian, Kyle James Hebert, of providing trainers with syringes of dermorphin to inject the painkiller in at least four horses that competed at Louisiana racetracks. The indictment returned Thursday by a grand jury in the Western District of Louisiana says Hebert told trainers that the mislabeled drug would make the horses “focus” and run faster.

Dermorphin, an opioid roughly 30 times more potent than morphine, is naturally secreted by tree frogs native to South America. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved any drug containing dermorphin for use in humans or animals.

Hebert’s company, Southern Equine Sports Medicine, operated veterinary clinics in Lake Charles and Sunset. The indictment charges him and an Omaha, Nebraska-based company, Kohll’s Pharmacy & Healthcare Inc., with conspiracy.

Hebert is licensed to practice veterinary medicine at racetracks by the Louisiana State Racing Commission. In 2012, the commission sanctioned nine trainers whose horses tested positive for dermorphin. Read more »

When the story on doping racehorses with “frog juice” originally broke in June 2012, more than 40 horses from four states had tentatively tested positive for the Dermorphin. More cases appeared as testing was tweaked to enhance detection.

The horse racing industry refused to take any sort of real action against it leaving it up to individual racecourse jurisdictions to deal with it.

Then the Dermorphin problem appears to have gone underground — until now.

Drugging racehorses is as old as horse racing itself when it comes to American trainers. Over the years, laboratories have detected everything from cocaine to viagra to heroin.

Jane Allin writes in Part 2: Historical Perspectives — The Chemical Horse:

“Perhaps the greatest significance to the racehorse doping trend in the United States is the story of American trainer Jack Keene, who traveled overseas in quest of reaping the rewards of junked-up racehorses.”

But Keene was caught and banned. So he returned home.

“Unable to race horses in Europe, and now banned from racing horses in Russia, Keene soon returned home to Kentucky and his family farm — Keeneland — where he laid out the track that bears his name, and helped build Lexington into the influential Thoroughbred racehorse breeding and sales center it is today”.

Pacific Magazine, reporting on the history of doping in horse racing writes:

Barry Irwin, a prominent owner in today’s racing game, said in an interview that he will never forget something Harthill once told him: “Even though a horse is five or seven times larger than humans, the amount of dope needed to have an effect is so small. An amount on the tip of a match would be enough to flick up a horse’s nose to get a spectacular result.”

Spectacular result. That about says it all doesn’t it?



Paulick Report

Louisiana Appeals Court upholds 2012 Dermorphin penalties; Dec. 10, 2014

Tuesday’s Horse

• Quarter Horse trainer Bassett banned 10 years for frog juice; Sept 24, 2012

• Louisiana Racing Commission to meet late Sept on dermorphin cases; Sept 12, 2012

• New Mexico: Tests confirm dermorphin positives; Aug 31, 2012

• Dermorphin use now suspected in Nebraska racehorse; Aug 20, 2012

• Horse given exotic painkiller breaks down at New Mexico racetrack; Aug 18, 2012

New York Times

• Turning to frogs for illegal aid horse racing; Jun 19, 2012

Delta Downs stewards make first ruling stemming from dermorphin outbreak; Jun 19, 2012




Quarter Horse trainer Bassett banned 10 years for frog juice

Waxy Monkey Tree Frog. By Afulki on Flickriver.

Cross-posted the Paulick Report

Waxy Monkey Tree Frog. By Afulki on Flickriver.
Racehorses are testing positive for dermorphin at tracks around the U.S. Dermorphin is made from the secretions of the Waxy Monkey Tree Frog (pictured here) and said to be up to 40 times more powerful than morphine. A synthetic version is now turning up. Image by Afulki on Flickriver.

RAY PAULICK reports:

John H. Bassett, a past American Quarter Horse Association champion trainer and two-time winner of the sport’s premier event, the All-American Futurity, has been suspended a total of 10 years and fined $10,000 after two horses in his care tested positive for the prohibited

Class 1 drug dermorphin. The drug, said to be 40 times more powerful than morphine, is widely known as frog juice because it is derived, in its natural form, from secretions of South American tree frogs.

Vince Mares, director of the New Mexico Racing Commission, confirmed Bassett’s suspension and fine, which was handed out Saturday after a stewards hearing at Zia Park. The penalties (five-year suspension and $5,000 fine for each violation) are the maximum permitted under New Mexico law at the time of the infractions. The New Mexico legislature has since passed stricter penalty guidelines for horseracing medication violations.

Fifteen dermorphin positives were detected from horses racing in Oklahoma this spring, though no complaints have been filed or individuals named in those cases. Louisiana has reported 11 dermorphin positives and Nebraska one. According to sources, dermorphin has been detected in at least one horse competing in Texas, but the racing commission there has not confirmed any findings. Industrial Labs in Colorado and Louisiana State University laboratory were involved in the Oklahoma and Louisiana cases that were believed to involve a synthetic form of the drug. Truesdail in California detected the Nebraska dermorphin. Continue reading >>

Will Bassett appeal, win and go back to business as usual? Why are these people not arrested on drugs charges? Not sure how that would work, but still… Or for race fixing? The betting public are being defrauded. I do know that works. –Editor

New Mexico: Tests confirm dermorphin positives

Waxy Monkey Tree Frog. By Afulki on Flickriver.


Cross-posted from the Paulick Report

Waxy Monkey Tree Frog. By Afulki on Flickriver.
Dermorphin is made from the secretions of Waxy Monkey Tree Frog and said to be 40x more powerful than morphine. Racehorses are testing positive for dermorphin at tracks around the U.S. The horse racing industry refuses to take any sort of real action against it. Image by Afulki on Flickriver.

Independent lab tests have confirmed that all nine horses that originally tested positive in May for Dermorphin were indeed given that illegal painkiller.

Vince Mares, the executive director of the New Mexico Racing Commission, told the Albuquerque Journal that the three trainers responsible for the drug positives will be subject to an administrative hearing and could face suspensions, fines, and criminal charges. Mares added that the cases are being forwarded to Attorney General Gary King’s office for possible criminal prosecution.

Jeffrey Heath Reed trained five of the nine horses that tested positive. The positive tests occurred after qualifying races for the Ruidoso Futurity on May 25. Four other horses, two each trained by John Bassett and Carlos Sedillo, also tested positive.

In addition, two of Reed’s horses tested positive for stanozolol, an a synthetic anabolic steroid. Stanozolol is used to build muscle and increase red blood cell production and bone density. Jess A Zoomin, one of Reed’s horses that tested positive, broke down Aug. 17 at Ruidoso Downs and had to be euthanized. Jess A Zoomin had posted the second-fastest qualifying time for the upcoming All American Futurity.

Read more at the Paulick Report >>

Read more at the Albuquerque Journal >>

The test results are in. They have been analyzed twice. Call the police already. Horse abuse. Call in the FBI. Betting fraud.

People are in jail for possessing half a joint. Yet horse racing can continue to defraud the betting public with secretly juiced up horses killing them like they did Jess A Zoomin. Bust these criminals and send them to j – a – i – l. –Editor