10/13/2011 4:21PM

Greenwood Cup winner tests positive, could lose Breeders' Cup spot


A.U. Miner, the long-distance specialist who was fourth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Marathon, has been disqualified from first in the July 16 Greenwood Cup at Parx Racing in Philadelphia because of a positive postrace finding of a corticosteroid, according to the horse’s trainer.

The Greenwood Cup is a Win and You’re In race for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Marathon, and the disqualification may cost A.U. Miner an automatic, fees-paid berth in this year’s edition of the race. Clark Hanna, the trainer of A.U. Miner, said he planned to appeal the ruling, but that A.U. Miner was being pointed toward the Marathon regardless of the result of the appeal, which is highly unlikely to be heard before the Nov. 4-5 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs.

“He’s the favorite right now,” Hanna said.

A.U. Miner tested positive for methylprednisolone, a popular corticosteroid that is used therapeutically to reduce inflammation in joints. Corticosteroids are generally only allowed to appear in small amounts in postrace tests in order to ensure that the drugs are not being used within 48 hours of a race. Using a corticosteroid close to a race could numb pain in a horse’s joints while the horse is running.Hanna characterized the concentration in the postrace test as “not very much,” and referred additional questions to his attorney, Joel Turner, who did not immediately return a phone call on Thursday afternoon.Under Breeders’ Cup rules, the second-place finisher in the Greenwood will receive the automatic berth in the Marathon, provided the disqualification is upheld. Bird Run, owned by Preston Stables, finished second in the race. – Matt Hegarty