“There is a frog in South America whose venom is a cure
For all the suffering that mankind must endure
More powerful than morphine and soothing as the rain
A frog in South America has the antidote for pain”

(Paul Simon, “Senorita With a Necklace of Tears”)

We’ve long known that bad trainers will inject practically any substance to make their horses move faster. Cobra venom, cocaine, Viagra, yes, but last year, a new dope du jour surfaced in at least four states – pharmaceutical name, dermorphin, but owing to its amphibian origin, “frog juice” will suffice.

Here’s the thing, though, this Class 1 drug is 40 times more powerful than morphine. 40 times. So, not only does it (obviously) obliterate pain, but as Oklahoma State professor of pharmacology Craig Stevens tells The New York Times (6/19/12), it also causes the horse to “have feelings of excitation and euphoria.” Numb and rabid, exactly what you want in an animal whip-forced to run at breakneck speed.


On a single day in May 2012, 8 New Mexico Quarter Horses tested positive for dermorphin after running trial heats for the lucrative All American Futurity. In Louisiana, 11 horses (from 9 different trainers). Oklahoma, 15. And in Nebraska, trainer Kim Veerhusen was suspended for doping his befittingly named Cheatin Cowboy with the opioid.

Jeffrey Heath Reed was one of the naughty New Mexicans. But while awaiting a second-lab verification, he was allowed to continue racing. Three months later, two of his charges broke down and died competing in another round of Futurity heats. One, 2-year-old Jess a Zoomin, was among the frog-juiced in May. Reed’s suspension at last arrived that fall. For this miscreant masquerading as a professional, the final count included four dermorphin positives (a fifth, Jess a Zoomin’s, was dismissed on a technicality) and two for the anabolic steroid stanozolol.

The picture below was snapped after Reed was suspended. He holds a koozie from “Racing Free,” an organization committed to eliminating illegal doping. Wow.

photo credit: Paulick Report
photo credit: Paulick Report

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  1. Reed and others of the same caliber should never be near any horses ever again. What a nasty business from top to bottom the horse industry is. These drugs are illegal and these people should be behind bars instead of “smiling ” for the camera in mockery.

  2. I have seen that same photo of Reed at least several times, and although I normally keep my personal thoughts and feelings of folks such as Reed to myself, I will stray from that just this one time – his outright mockery of the industry in which he makes his living and cruel joking directed at the horses in his “care” are as disgusting and pathetic as the “man” himself.

  3. I spoke to a trainer a couple of years ago and she told me how easy it is to obtain cobra venom. At the time, I was shocked but I shouldn’t have been. Racing is a dirty industry where wining is everything even at the expense of the horses who put their lives on the line every time they leave the gate.

    • And this guy is listed up with the “big guys” In fact he has a 35% win average, the best of the lot !! If that’s not a red flag what is. But the “business” is corrupt at every level.

  4. looks like the only thing that he would understand as cruel, is taking his food away from him, fat as& !!

  5. Again, thank you for another entry and your research. I would like to take that smug b*stard’s smile away via cobra venom, LOL.
    This industry is BEYOND dirty. Just beyond. We must all keep trying to educate the public.

  6. What I am not sure people understand is, Horse racing and the overwhelming majority of people in it don’t want people like this either. The one reason this is public is because of the testing of the horses.

    Unfortunately virtually every sport has it’s cheaters. Lance Armstrong, baseball is a total mess, and even racing pigeons.<<– yes look it up) It seems to me that any sport that has not had it's cheaters, simply has not tested well enough. Unlike eventing and other parts of the horse business, racing is relentlessly trying to weed these people out with stringent testing and bigger penalties…

      • I agree Patrick that is actually part of the point I wanted to make. If there are people out there willing to do this to themselves they certainly wouldn’t think twice to do it to others.(Animals in this case). I mean they are doping pigeons. What kind of person would even think to dope a pigeon???

  7. Another Country, can you please point out the “bigger penalties”…with the links to back your claim up.

    • Jeffery Reed, 21 years $23,000 fine. Carlos Sedillo 10 years $10,000 fine. John Bassett 10 years $10,000 fine. Those were some or the frog juice guys. Dutrow 10 years. Janey Adams 10 year for abuse. Don Roberson 2 years. Jayne Vaders she just fell off the map, not sure think she has an indefinite. Scooter and Billy Ray Davis I believe are indefinite. I think their grooms were ruled off as well. Just a short list.

      I figure everyone is going to say there should be jail time, but that would be up to the judicial system. The commissions and race tracks don’t have the power to arrest people. The same would be said for Hockey. Those guys fight all the time, why don’t the police arrest them?? If that was happening in their front yard someone would go to jail.

      I did my home work now can you find me some suspensions or finds that the eventing world has given out, or are you one of those people that think they are all on the up and up???

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