Moquett Q&A: The Steps To Mounting An ADMC Defense

Ron Moquett | Coady Photography

Trainer Ron Moquett, a member of the HISA Horsemen's Advisory Committee, was not immune this past year from the threat of an Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) violation.

Last fall after the GII Hagyard Fayette S. at Keeneland, a controlled medication called Mepivacaine, which can be used during the gelding process, was found in one of Moquett's horses named Speed Bias (Uncle Mo). The conditioner mounted a defense which resulted in a May 29 ruling by a HIWU internal adjudication panel that he would not be fined nor penalized for the post-race positive.

The conditioner joined TDN for a discussion of what you can do as a 'covered person' if you find yourself in a similar predicament.

TDN: Ron, thanks for agreeing to an exchange. Looking back at the Speed Bias case, what would you advise others to do if they find themselves in a similar situation?

RM: I would say follow the protocol set forth by HIWU. Things have to be done in a specific order.

First, write your response to the notification to let HIWU know that you acknowledge the notice of the positive and how you wish to proceed. You will need to make a statement explaining that you did not knowingly give the drug in question.

Then, see if you can help them understand where and how your horse came into contact with the substance.

TDN: Are there other resources people might not know about?

RM: If you need help with any of the above, reach out to a HISA Advisory Member and or an Ombudsman, whichever makes you feel more comfortable and let them help you navigate the steps. Keep in mind that you may qualify for legal help from a lawyer that has experience dealing with cases such as this for no charge.

TDN: Speaking of attorney fees, can you tell us how much this whole process cost you? Didn't Speed Bias have to forfeit the purse money he won for finishing third in the GII Hagyard Fayette S.?

RM: Yes, it cost my owners the purse. Besides the stress, it cost me my lawyer fees. Lawyers aren't cheap, but I could not have gone through the process without one. I can tell you that the financial cost to defend this was significantly more than the fine would have been.

TDN: Retaining counsel and doing a records search make total sense, but was there any apprehension that the video evidence from Keeneland and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission could not be obtained?

RM: The video provided by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission of the day's activities in my shedrow and barn was the key evidence needed to defend this case. That and the fact that the medical records kept on the Portal showing the exact drug used in the standing castration verified the introduction of that medication to the particular stall Speed Bias ran out of.

TDN: So, if you had not obtained that, would it have been difficult to defend yourself?

RM: Without the video it would have been just a trainer stating facts he could not prove while expecting the panel to just take our word of the facts of the case. Instead, they could see it all clearly for themselves verifying what we told them exactly.

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