06/23/2003 12:00AM

Dutrow appealing drug ban


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. has been suspended 45 days and fined $3,000 by the New York Racing Association stewards after the banned substance mepivacaine was found in the postrace urine of Farmer Jake, who finished third in the sixth race at Aqueduct on April 27.

Dutrow has appealed, was granted a stay, and will be able to continue to train.

Mepivacaine is a local anesthetic regarded as a Class 2 drug by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, meaning it has high potential to affect performance. Dutrow said he does not use the drug and added, "I don't know what it would be used for. Hopefully, the lab made a mistake, and we're going to check into that.''

Meanwhile, the New York State Racing and wagering Board on Sunday issued its official ruling on Gary Contessa, who on Monday began a 20-day suspension for the presence of ephedrine in eight horses during a two-week period in late January. Contessa was fined $5,000.

The ruling stated that the suspension was only 20 days - reduced from 40 after Contessa waived his right to appeal - because of "proof of inadvertent administration of [a] non-prescription product containing the drug ephedrine." The drug was not identified on the product label, according to the ruling.