09/01/2009 12:00AM

It's a Bird's connections appeal ruling


The connections of It's a Bird have appealed the Arkansas Racing Commission's decision to disqualify the horse from his win in the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap in documents that were filed in circuit court in Little Rock, Ark., on Aug. 25, according to commission attorney Byron Freeland. The horse, who is to run Saturday at Saratoga in the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward, tested positive for naproxen following his six-length win in the Oaklawn Handicap on April 4.

A commission hearing on the case was held July 21, and the panel disqualified It's a Bird and ordered the winning purse of $300,000 redistributed. They also fined the horse's trainer, Marty Wolfson, $500. Runforthedoe, who was the runner-up in the Oaklawn Handicap, was elevated to first place as a result of the disqualification. Wolfson and Edmund Gann, who owns It's a Bird, had until last Friday to appeal the commission's decision.

Gann had been awarded the purse money from the Oaklawn Handicap, but the commission will ask that the money be placed in an escrow account as the case makes its way through the court system, Freeland said. A court date for the appeal has yet to be set.

Arkansas has a zero-tolerance policy on naproxen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory that is sold for human use under the brand name Aleve. It is a Class 4 medication violation.

It's a Bird won the $1 million Sunshine Classics in January and in May took the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap.