Updated on 09/18/2011 2:41AM

Court denies Pletcher appeal


An appellate division of the New York State Supreme Court on Thursday rejected trainer Todd Pletcher's appeal of a 45-day suspension and $3,000 fine given to him by the State Racing and Wagering Board for a positive test on one of his horses in the summer of 2004.

Tales of Glory won the third race at Saratoga on Aug. 14, 2004. But a postrace drug test on the horse revealed the presence of mepivicaine, an anesthetic, in the horse's blood and urine. Mepivicaine, which is used as a nerve-block, is classified by the Association of Racing Commissioners International as a Class 2 drug, meaning that it has "a high potential to affect performance."

In upholding the penalties ordered by the racing and wagering board, the court rejected Pletcher's argument that the horse was not administered the drug but may have come in contact with the drug inadvertently. Toward that end, Pletcher had offered expert testimony from Steven Barker, the state chemist to the Louisiana State Racing Commission, who opined that the horse "was inadvertently exposed to mepivacaine from an unknown source," according to the judgment.

George Maylin, the director of the racing and wagering board's drug testing and research program, offered the opinion that Tales of Glory was administered mepivicaine within seven days before the race.

Neither Pletcher nor his attorney, Mitchell Karlan, was available for comment on Friday. According to the Aqueduct stewards, Pletcher does have the option to take his case to federal court, but there is no guarantee the case would even be heard.

Pletcher, 39, has won the last two Eclipse Awards as the nation's leading trainer. This year, he set single records for purse money won by a trainer, $27,267,521 through Thursday, and most graded stakes won by a trainer (54).