Trainer Dopes His Horses With Cocaine, Caffeine, and Strychnine; Racing Slaps His Wrist

In a February 27 Arizona Department of Racing ruling (below), owner/trainer Alex J. Torres-Casas was punished after four of his horses tested positive for caffeine. Caffeine. But it’s worse: three of the four also tested positive for strychnine – yes, strychnine, of rat poison fame. (Apparently, strychnine was once considered a performance-enhancer – acting as a stimulant – for humans.) The four horses – Windi’s Moment, Straightcash Homie, Giro Candito, and S S Taylor – all raced for Torres-Casas at Turf Paradise in January/February.

At this point you’re probably wondering what exactly was that punishment? A lifetime ban? Perhaps some jail time, to boot? Please. This is horseracing. For shooting his horses up with caffeine and strychnine, Torres-Casas was fined $2625 and suspended for 180 days. Yes, that’s right, this scumbag will be back at it again in just six months’ time. Imagine that.

But wait, there’s a complicating (though certainly not mitigating) circumstance, for you see this is not Torres-Casas’ first foray into heavy-duty doping. According to the Thoroughbred Daily News, Torres-Casas has a 2017 cocaine positive on his resume. Cocaine, caffeine, strychnine – slap the wrist and move on. And that, folks, is what this industry really thinks of its horses.

18-19TP107 Torres-Casas_AlexJ

28 Comments

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  1. What a disgusting, greedy, piece of crap human. I’m disgusted by the entire industry. It should be abolished.

  2. I’m relatively new to your posts, and maybe you have already reviewed this story…

    Several of Bob Bafferts horses died a few years ago (~2012) and investigators found traces of rat poison in them… per internet search of articles, it was concluded to be accidental exposure… in consideration of the information in your Arizona Trainer Alex J Torres-Casas post, that ingredients in rat poison may be a performance enhancer, perhaps Baffarts horses were not accidentally exposed…hmmmm

    • Yes, thank you, Pam…

      Baffert had 7 horses die from November 2011 to March 2013 – “sudden deaths” – and it was determined that Baffert fed all of his horses Thyro-L. Thyroid medication. ALL of his horses. And without them having been diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

      Of course, the CHRB “concluded there was no evidence of wrongdoing”. Baffert has a HUGE stable – and CA racing wants his home base to stay right where it is.

  3. Animal abuse should call for this industry shut off…permanently…and for the augers to be prosecuted with jail time and heavy fines…

  4. Why don’t we give this son-of -bitch a taste of his own medicine and force him to take this crap. He should never be allowed near a horse!

    • I totally agree with you. He needs to swallow the same amounts as was fed to the horses! I’d pay to watch him wiggle and moan until his last breath.

  5. As outraged as anybody should be, I want to make clear (as somebody who grew up in this business, and owned/trained for years) this is NOT an anomaly.
    The following link is an excellent article written by Jane Allin at our friends blog:
    https://tuesdayshorse.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/deadly-to-horses-the-baffert-effect-part-1/
    There is also Part 2 and Part 3 – please read to educate yourself.
    Historically, the horse racing business has been controlling the message so that they can continue to maim, dump, and/or kill racehorses for profit.
    This is all being conducted under the guise of fancy hats, “sport” banner, and grassy paddocks forever.
    Nothing can be further away from the truth.
    For years now horse racing has, more or less, condoned the cheating and doping while certain trainers are immune (Baffert, Pletcher, Asmussen etc.) to punishment from the commissions, which seems to support massive inside corruption.
    They also highlighted some of Patrick’s excellent articles and facts, as well as, many other informative articles:
    https://tuesdayshorse.wordpress.com/category/horse-racing/

    Please share, tell your friends, educate people, sign petitions, peacefully demonstrate, be a voice for the voiceless racehorses – just do something.
    They need us now more than ever.

    • Gina, that’s right. The drugging of racehorses is NOTHING new. After Eight Belles broke both front ankles and died, Congress held a sub-committe hearing on the drugs and breakdowns in American horse racing. At that 2008 hearing, Arthur Hancock exclaimed he had been pleading for an independent and national oversight of racing (to address the abuse of drugs in racehorses, among other issues) for a quarter of a century! And long before Northern Dancer received Lasix in 1964, racehorses were the non-consenting recipients of drugs their owners/trainers hoped would get them to the finish line first.

      • An interesting piece…the following, a short excerpt; “Racing authorities, then or now, have never had much luck in their fight against doping. The first laboratory tests — of the saliva of competitive horses — were not introduced until the 1930s, and only then were mostly intended for three things: morphine, heroin, and strychnine. The tests were aimed at determining whether a race had been affected by a horse having been sabotaged by a rival camp or a stable eager to make a large wager.”

        https://www.propublica.org/article/secret-to-success

    • These poor horses need help. The scumbag trainer deserves to be fed an overdose of his concoctions …and the racing authorities need to protect the horses. .

  6. There is zero integrity and menial accountability in that business starting from those are the supposed leaders of it

  7. Seriously you ask what should be done about this trainer – the cost of one bullet to his forehead should get the job done – end of story. I can not believe that the rules are so in favor of these assholes who do this damage to these horses. Get rid of this scum and any like him. This is what you are all so proud of when you talk about your horse racing – get real people you have no clue. You allow this treatment of these horses to go on, you allow them to run when they are far too young and just end up killing them on the tracks. Now you present us with a story about this god damn loser – this is a quick fix to him and that would end it for all of the others that think doping up their animals is the way to go – honestly how sick are all of you bastards in this racing circle. It should be banned for life and these abusers don’t deserve jail time – they deserve death!!!

  8. A an occasional observer of the industry, The Triple Crown 2018 seemed very, very financially tense, with the ‘China Horse’ group exerting lots of influence. Do you think the very large amounts of money put even more negative pressure on trainers & owners, & possibly contribute to race horse animal abuse issues?

  9. If all the drugs including Lasix and the so called “supplements” were suddenly unavailable. I wonder what racing would look like in a few months. Would there be much smaller fields, any breakdowns, or horses dropping dead and would a lot of tracks be looking at closing down ??!
    A racing insider once said to me there were no trainers, just chemists in search of “the perfect formula”.

  10. This is quite awful. This cannot even called a punishment. This trainer/owner needs to be banned for life from owning horses.

  11. Thanks to all those who know what’s going on and sharing with the public and advocates & HW for their daily investigation & reporting, the movement will grow until the tracks are dead silent.

  12. I befriended a trainer who’s since passed away. We were talking one day and I asked him if the horses are indeed doped. He laughed and said “oh sure! I can tell you in my time I’ve tried cocaine, marijuana, frog juice, cobra venom, milk shakes, blood transfusions, and all sorts of other stuff. But none of it works. If it did – everyone would be using it.” Well, there’s certainly trainers that are using something! When the same trainers are consistently winning and leading at their tracks, obviously they have something.
    Another old timer admitted back in the day if his horses were hyped up- he’d give them marijuana, and if they seemed too calm or tired he’d amp them up with cocaine mixed with other meds..

  13. Not one individual, either trainer or owner, must disclose their doping records to anybody.
    They go on, day after day, putting whatever they want into these horses and they are not transparent about it.
    It’s my view that many racehorses are, more or less, laboratory “rats” that they experiment with to see what dope works and what dope doesn’t work.
    If they drop dead NOTHING is done, no repercussions, the bogus “investigations” and total secrecy surrounding what they were using leading up to their deaths so why in the hell would they stop?
    The only way to stop all of this evil is to shut it down.

  14. As many of you know I was a CHRB Associate Steward for a very short period of time at Del Mar.
    Nevertheless, during my short tenure there I observed, on a daily basis, the rampant use of Electric Shock Wave Therapy (SWT) in the stable area at Del Mar.
    All of the top level trainers were using it on a frequent basis right in the stall or in a stall that was eventually designed specifically for this purpose, and subsequently became mandatory to use.
    This stall was under closed circuit surveillance and I was responsible for reviewing the tapes.
    I was “shocked,” pardon the pun, at how frequent it was being used, and how it was being used so close to racing knowing the implications of stripping a horse of its natural sensations/nerves to protect itself.
    Not only was this horse abuse, but it was a dangerous highly unsafe situation leaving racehorses vulnerable to catastrophic breakdowns.
    For those of you not familiar with SWT it’s a hand-held wand (that looks exactly like an ultrasound wand) that literally shocks the nerves in the horses legs to completely numb their sensation.
    However, the “top” level trainers (in collusion with their vet) were using it on other areas of the body as well, and I noticed they would often inject the joints, and then run the wand over the joint areas as well.
    Needless to say, these were the trainers winning all of the stake races and had a high rate of racehorses breaking down and dying.
    So I decided to review the SWT barn tapes with the catastrophic breakdowns and it became clear to me that there was a direct correlation between the 2 – not surprisingly.
    However, I must mention that due to the secrecy of doping/vet records I couldn’t definitively reach a conclusion, but it certainly contributed to racehorses dropping in the dirt with no prior warning (usually a horse with natural sensations will slow down to protect itself – the horse doesn’t want to die).
    I was scheduled to be in the Steward stand at Santa Anita Park after my stint at Del Mar.
    I sent a email to the Stronach Group (then using the banner “Magna Entertainment”) at Santa Anita requesting a meeting to review what I had found, and to request their cooperation to implement stringent rules re: SWT.
    The reaction was swift.
    While I expected total cooperation with the situation, since I was not so much requesting as stating that this needed to be addressed, I got the total opposite reaction.
    Within days I received an email letter from Santa Anita management that I was banned from the grounds, including all stable areas, and I was to be reassigned to other tracks during my duties.
    Plus they made clear that they had notified the CHRB of their unilateral decision – WOW!!
    Here was a track dictating to a Racing Official, who is supposed to be neutral and paid for by taxpayers being told to essentially “screw-off” we will operate the way we see fit.
    So it doesn’t surprise me when The Stronach Group continues to focus on “track surface” instead of doping and SWT as the main contributors of racehorses dying on their tracks and all over the country.

    • We have seen the use of SWT everyday for two weeks on a mare up to and including the day she broke both front legs on the last day of racing in the second race in 2004! That crummy trainer had his own machine which he proudly showed off to us other horse people! It is illegal to use SWT in our state within 14 days of a horse working out let alone racing within the 30 days of a race according to our states racing rules. Our local track is a Stronach operated track which back in 2004 was a MEG managed track. That crummy trainer and his primary owner of record / wife are still training today! Within 2 years if our states horses are lucky our local track is slated for development for warehouses / trucking dispatch centers! A friend and ourselves will be there to celebrate the demolition of a place where so many horses have died and people as well.We can hardly wait until that day! Economics will steadily bur surely do away with this business because of increasing land values,rising liability insurances,increasing labor costs and simply greatly declining interest in gamboling on horses from the younger generations of people.

      • When Frank Stronach first started buying up a bunch of racetracks they were under a newly formed business called “Magna Entertainment.” (ME) a completely separate legal entity from Magna Auto Parts.
        ME (the horse racing operations) aggressively solicited stable personnel on tracks to buy shares before opening it up on the stock market to get a good price.
        They claimed to have a successful first ever formula to turn horse racing into huge profits.
        Consequently, stable grooms, hotwalkers, working class horse racing people invested their nest eggs, everything they worked for, to buy stock in Magna Entertainment.
        After a few years ME went bankrupt and these people lost their entire life savings while the racehorses were losing their lives dying in the dirt to fill his wagering coffers.
        https://www.guelphmercury.com/news-story/2740036-bankruptcy-judge-approves-reorganization-plan-of-magna-entertainment-corp-/
        The business was “reorganized” and “The Stronach Group” was eventually born out of this mess.
        While hundreds, if not thousands, of working class horse racing personnel financially suffered Frank Stronach was busy buying statutes for 55 million, cow property in Florida for millions, 2000 acres of prime Kentucky land to build a state-of-the-art racehorse facility in Bourbon County KY, and was buying up racehorses under the, now legally protected from creditors/shareholders, The Stronach Group.
        He’s never been investigated for this.
        The Wolf of Wall Street is nothing compared to the magnitude of what went on here it seems.
        His racetrack properties, especially in California, were granted millions in taxpayers money and/or tax breaks in exchange for economic development in the area and upgrades that don’t appear to be finished yet alone started.
        Hell, the Maryland Governor wants to bail them out to the tune of over 400 million to rebuild Pimlico.
        This lady must have a piece of her brain missing and probably her heart as well.
        How long are racehorses and taxpayers going to forced into servitude for this callous millionaire?

  15. This is a rotten industry with everyone getting a cut – even the vets make a great living out of the endless injuries and euthanasias. The laughably light sentence says it all and all we can do is be totally heartbroken for these innocent beautiful creatures who suffer and die for betting. Shameful.

  16. An outside agency needs to come in and give harsher penalties. There is animal abuse as well as drug abuse going on. I still do not understand how this is being allowed and going on all over the country. It’s as though they are in a different jurisdiction, like their own country. This has got to stop!

  17. SHUT DOWN this BUSINESS of HORSE-RACING — For far too long, Horse-Racing has been given cover under the banner of sport, indeed “The Sport of Kings” — In truth, however, it is NO such thing — If you dig deeper, if you look beyond the mint juleps & bugle calls, you’ll see that Horse Racing, at its most basic level, is but a simple vehicle for gambling — $2 bets — The “pampered athlete,” too, is a GROTESQUE LIE, for life for the typical Race-Horse is UGLY, DEPRAVED, VICIOUS, SADISTIC, MEAN …..

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