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Trainer appeals Breeders Classic ruling

March 21, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A horse trainer who was suspended after the Oct. 10 Breeders Classic for allegedly violating state rules has appealed the decision to the state Racing Commission.

Michael W. Dickinson began presenting his case to the Racing Commission during two days of testimony at Charles Town Races last week, said Lois Graham, executive secretary for the Racing Commission.

Karen Murphy, a New York attorney, represented Dickinson in the appeal, Graham said.

The testimony has not been completed and it is not known when the case will resume, Graham said Monday.

Dickinson was suspended and his winning horse, A Huevo, was disqualified after the horse won the Breeders Classic, the thoroughbred track's largest annual race. The horse, which shattered a 26-year-old record that day, tested positive for Clenbuterol, a drug which opens up the nasal passages, the Racing Commission said.

West Virginia racing laws prohibit the use of Clenbuterol.

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Bronchial dilators like Clenbuterol are commonly used when racing horses, and rules regarding their use in competition varies among jurisdictions, according to Dick Watson, president of the Charles Town division of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

Kentucky, for instance, requires the drugs to be discontinued three days before a race, but allows trace amounts.

Graham said she could not comment on the type of testimony offered last week.

Racing Commissioner Robert Burke of Wheeling, W.Va., said none of the Racing Commissioners can comment on the appeal since testimony has not been completed.

Dickinson could not be reached for comment.

Under Dickinson's 30-day suspension, which was scheduled to expire Feb. 15, he was denied all rights and privileges at all state tracks.

The $150,000 purse from the race, which was held up pending an investigation, was distributed among other horse owners.

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