02/24/2010 12:00AM

Laurel positive test overturned


Digger will remain the winner of the $70,000 Fire Plug Stakes held at Laurel Park on Jan. 16 after the results of a split sample on a postrace drug test came back negative, thus failing to confirm the results of a preliminary test that showed trace amounts of a banned substance.

"The sample did come back negative from the split laboratory, therefore all charges are dropped," said Mike Hopkins, executive director for the Maryland Racing Commission. "The race remains as is, no action to be taken."

Digger's connections - owner Mike Repole and trainer Bruce Brown - were initially notified that the horse's postrace test had the presence of diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory found in the topical cream Surpass. Brown denied having used the medication.

"It's like a weight off my shoulders," Brown said Wednesday. "I couldn't figure out how it happened."

After winning the Fire Plug, Digger came back to finish a strong second in the Grade 2 General George Handicap on Feb. 15.

"I feel great, I was suspicious to begin with," Repole said of the initial positive test. "I'm happy for the horse and I'm happy for Bruce Brown, he's one of the up-and-coming trainers in the game, and he didn't need this."