10/26/2006 12:00AM

Lake to appeal latest ban

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Trainer Scott Lake, the leading trainer in the country by wins, will likely appeal a 30-day suspension handed down on Tuesday by the Delaware Racing Commission for a second clenbuterol positive this year at Delaware Park, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Lake received the suspension and a $1,000 fine on Tuesday after the commission refused to grant a second continuance in his appeal of the initial ruling. Lake and his lawyer had asked for the continuance to obtain the testimony of a "disgruntled ex-employee" who they believe drugged the horse, the lawyer, Richard Cross Jr., said. Cross declined to name the employee but said that they had information about his whereabouts.

The suspension was issued after Secret Run, a horse trained by Lake, tested positive for clenbuterol, a potent bronchial dilator that also has steroidal properties, following a race on June 7 at Delaware Park. Clenbuterol is legal to administer for training purposes, but the drug cannot be present in certain concentrations in a horse's blood or urine on race day.

Lake was suspended earlier this year by the Delaware racing commission for a clenbuterol positive after a race on April 30. Also earlier this year, Lake was fined $1,000 by New York stewards for a clenbuterol positive after a March 4 race at Aqueduct.

The commission has not yet issued a ruling as to when Lake's suspension will start. When the final ruling is issued, "We'll likely file the appeal the very next day," Cross said. The appeal will be filed with the Delaware Superior Court, which, like other civil courts in racing jurisdictions, uses different rules of evidence and law than racing commissions.

The appeal, Cross said, will ask the judge to throw out the sentence based on four contentions: That the commission should have allowed the continuance to obtain the testimony; that the commission did not present a witness to confirm the results of a split-sample test; that the sample obtained for testing was smaller than required under Delaware's rules; and that the trainer-responsibility rule is "overly broad" by putting the burden of proof on the trainer.