12/19/2006 12:00AM

Lake drops New York appeal


Scott Lake, the leading trainer by wins in the country, has dropped an appeal of a 30-day suspension for an illegal drug positive in a horse he trained who raced at Aqueduct in April, New York's regulatory commission said on Monday.

Lake, who is currently serving a 30-day suspension for a positive in Delaware, will begin his suspension on Dec. 24 and will be eligible to return to racing on Jan. 22, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board said.

A horse trained by Lake, Zeal Power, finished third in the second race at Aqueduct on April 12 and subsequently tested positive for clenbuterol, a popular bronchial dilator that also has steroidal effects. Lake had initially appealed the ruling, but dropped the appeal on Monday, the board said.

Two horses trained by Lake have tested positive for clenbuterol after races at Delaware Park this year as well. Lake's 30-day suspension for the two Delaware positives will expire on Dec. 23.

Lake and his attorney had argued before the Delaware Horse Racing Commission that a former employee had administered clenbuterol to the horses in violation of the rules. On Tuesday, he continued to maintain his innocence, saying that the three positives came in horses who raced in a 12-day period and that the horses who tested positive had not been administered clenbuterol within seven days of their races.

"I think it was a disgruntled employee who did something," Lake said. "He's gone, and we have a new security system in place, and we haven't had any problems since then."

Steve Krebs, Lake's top assistant, will take over the training operation in Lake's far-flung stable, Lake said.