05/02/2006 11:00PM

Brass Hat disqualified

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Brass Hat, the second-place finisher in the $6 million Dubai World Cup on March 25, has been disqualified from the race by stewards at Nad al Sheba racecourse after testing positive for a corticosteroid, according to the horse's trainer, William Bradley, and Bradley's attorney.

The disqualification, which will be appealed, Bradley said on Wednesday, could cost Brass Hat the $1.2 million second-place share of the Dubai World Cup purse. Also as part of the ruling Bradley was fined 20,000 dirhams, or approximately $5,445 at Wednesday's exchange rate.

Brass Hat, the winner of the Grade 1 Donn and Grade 2 New Orleans Handicaps earlier this year, is owned and was bred by Fred Bradley, the trainer's father and a former Kentucky state senator. The horse came into the World Cup as the second-choice on the morning-line, behind eventual winner Electrocutionist.

Stewards at Nad al Sheba issued the ruling on Wednesday after two days of hearings conducted via teleconference call. Bradley said he was initially informed that Brass Hat tested positive for the corticosteroid, methyl prednisolone acetate, one week after the World Cup, but that hearings were not conducted until a split sample of the horse's urine also tested positive at a laboratory in Hong Kong.

Bradley's veterinarian, Doug Berry, said in an affidavit that he administered a 160-milligram injection of the drug, a potent anti-inflammatory, into each hock on Feb. 25, 28 days before the World Cup. Bradley said he asked Berry to administer the injections that day after consulting documents from the Dubai Equine Hospital that advised foreign trainers to refrain from administering the drug within 23 days of a race in the country. The document was provided by William Greeley, the former Keeneland president who has acted as a representative of the Emirates Racing Associates.

"It's every upsetting, and I'm actually very angry," Bradley said. "We felt as if we did everything that we should do, and we fell like we were misled."

The Dubai Equine Hospital documents, provided by Bradley's attorney, Bill Johnson, states that methyl prednisolone acetate is "OK" to administer 23 days outside of a race. However, the document does not state a dosage, nor does it indicate a route of administration.

In addition, the document states that "in Dubai, there are no tolerance levels, only negative and positive."

Emirates Racing Associates officials could not be reached on Wednesday.

Corticosteroids are potent anti-inflammatory drugs that are most commonly used to treat swelling in joints. Bradley said that Brass Hat had received injections of methyl prednisolone acetate in the fall of 2005 to relieve pressure on his back end. The horse improved after the injections, Bradley said, so he made the decision to inject the joints again prior to the World Cup.

"We knew this was the last time we could be treating him because of their rules, so we thought we'd go ahead and do it since it seemed to help him so much the last time," Bradley said.

Horses will eliminate corticosteroids on widely different timescales depending on the route of administration, according to Dr. Scot Waterman, the executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. The slowest are injections directly into a joint, Waterman said.

"You don't have a huge blood supply in the joint," Waterman said. "The farther away you get from the blood supply, the slower it takes to get out of the system."