03/11/2005 1:00AM

Alumni Hall tests positive


Alumni Hall, who finished third in the Mineshaft Handicap at Fair Grounds on Feb. 12, was disqualified and the purse of the race was redistributed Friday after the horse tested positive for procaine.

Alumni Hall's trainer, Neil Howard, was fined $1,000 but not suspended, according to Fair Grounds stewards, because he presented evidence that indicated he had treated the horse with penicillin up to five days before the race. Penicillin can produce a positive for procaine, the stewards said.

If the stewards had deemed that the drug was used as a local anesthetic, that would have been cause for a suspension. Howard has never had a prior medication violation.

"I'm embarrassed beyond words," said Howard, who trains Alumni Hall for owner William Farish. Howard said that the horse had sustained a cut and was treated with penicillin to avoid infection.

In the revised placings, Gigawatt was awarded third-place money, Formal Attire was placed fourth, and Skipaslew was elevated to fifth.