Three trainers whose horses tested positive for an exotic painkilling drug could face suspensions, fines and criminal charges.
New Mexico Racing Commission executive director Vince Mares says independent lab tests have confirmed that nine horses had been drugged with dermorphin.
He tells the Albuquerque Journal that the cases are being forwarded to the state Attorney General's Office for possible criminal prosecution.
Trainers can mask an injured horse's pain by using illegal drugs like dermorphin and still race the horse. But the horses could break down, injuring the animals and their riders.
The three trainers had invoked their right to have their horses' blood and urine samples re-tested by an independent lab after initial tests in May.
Mares says they will be subject to an administrative hearing in the coming weeks.