07/27/2011 11:29AM

Churchill Downs medication case affects two horses


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A stewards’ hearing into a medication violation that could result in a 3-year-old gelding named Stealing Copper being disqualified from a victory in a $10,000 maiden-claiming race last month at Churchill Downs is scheduled to be held Friday at Ellis Park in western Kentucky.

The incident has led the connections of the runner-up in the June 16 race to complain that their horse is being unfairly excluded from maiden races until the case has been resolved. However, Kentucky chief steward John Veitch said Wednesday that “by rule and regulation,” the runner-up, Blue Solitude, “is also considered a winner until the case has been fully adjudicated.”

Stealing Copper, bred and owned by Brereton C. Jones and trained by John Good, won the June 16 race at 27-1, but a postrace urine sample and the subsequent split sample both found a medication violation. Veitch said he is not able to comment further on the specifics of the case until after the Friday hearing.

Under due process, Good has the right to appeal the findings to the stewards, then to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, then to the courts system, a process that could take months. Without a ruling in effect, there has been no disqualification or redistribution of the $16,400 purse, which yielded $9,840 for first and $3,280 for second.

In the meantime, Blue Solitude, second by a half-length in the June 16 race for owners Sandy Posa and Bill Cesare, is ineligible for a maiden condition. The 5-year-old gelding has had one subsequent start, finishing last of 12 at 66-1 in a $20,000 nonwinners-of-two claiming race on the opening-day card last Friday at Saratoga.

“I don’t think it’s right,” said Cesare, who trains Blue Solitude. “Not only have we not gotten our money for winning the race, but they’re making us run against winners. This could take a long time to play out. If they eventually rule there’s no disqualification, we’ll have wasted a lot of time running out of our condition.”

Stealing Copper has run once since his maiden victory, finishing ninth in an $8,000 nonwinners-of-two claiming race on July 3 at Churchill. He was claimed from that race by owner Danny Caldwell and trainer Karl Broberg. Veitch said the new connections have no legal recourse should they seek to have the claim voided.