11/30/2006 12:00AM

Mitchell faces sanctions after positive


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The California Horse Racing Board announced on Thursday that it has filed a complaint against trainer Mike Mitchell after one of his starters at Hollywood Park on Nov. 19, Dynout, tested in excess of the permitted level of total carbon dioxide.

Dynout finished second by a nose in an optional claimer that carried a purse of $47,200.

It is the second time in the last 18 months that Mitchell has had a horse in violation of the testing limit of total carbon dioxide. Mitchell had a horse test in excess of permitted levels during the 2005 Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting.

Mitchell said on Thursday that he "plans to fight" the latest test finding and had scheduled a meeting on Friday to discuss the matter with attorney Neil Papiano, who frequently represents trainers in cases before the CHRB.

Mitchell said the absence of a split-sample procedure for trainers after they are notified that a horse has tested in excess of the permitted levels is a concern.

"I didn't fight the last one," he said. "I went along with it. I feel like I'm going to fight this and see how valid the test is. I'm so upset with this."

Trainers who want a split sample of a test for total carbon dioxide must make those intentions known when a blood sample is taken before a race. Mitchell said that a split sample was not taken from Dynout.

As a result of the November finding, Mitchell faces possible sanctions from the CHRB since excessive amounts of total carbon dioxide are classified as a Class 3 medication violation. Violations in classes 1, 2, and 3 are subject to purse redistribution and possible fine and/or suspension for a trainer.

In addition, Mitchell's horses will be placed in a detention barn in the 24 hours before a start. The detention barn period will last for 30 days. It was not clear when the detention barn period would start. Thursday, Hollywood Park general manager Eual Wyatt Jr. said he had not been officially informed of Mitchell's test findings.

Since the beginning of the year, trainers with horses that tested in excess of permitted levels have faced possible sanctions from the CHRB. In 2005, those sanctions were not in place. Trainers with horses that tested in excess of permitted levels had their horses placed in a detention barn in a program administered by racetracks and horsemen's groups. The detention barn program remains in place.

Excess amounts of total carbon dioxide, also known as milkshakes, are thought to give horses more stamina and reduce fatigue.

Mitchell said that horses have varying rates of metabolism that can produce different total carbon dioxide levels.

"So many horses retain this differently," he said of carbon dioxide levels. "It's mind-boggling that we can make this a law, and there is nothing we can do to counter it.

"I can't double-check them," he said of the CHRB. "I have to sit back and say, 'You're the law and I'm guilty.' "

Blazing times on synthetic track

The synthetic track at Hollywood Park produced wickedly fast times during the first three races of Thursday's program, but was considered safe by jockeys who rode in the first race.

In the first race, California-bred $10,000 claimers finished 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.59. In the second race, 2-year-old maidens entered for claiming prices of $28,000 to $32,000 ran six furlongs in 1:09.31. In the third race, $28,000 to $32,000 claimers ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.11.

The times for 5 1/2 furlongs and 6 1/2 furlongs were the fastest of the meeting.

After the first race, Martin Pedroza, who rode race winner IB Bad, said, "It's not really hard. It has a good bounce to it. It feel good, and it's not just because I won. As long as they come back healthy, that's important."

Danny Sorenson, who finished fourth on Zackary's Verbatim, said the track was similar to Wednesday, when times were not as quick. "It didn't feel any different from yesterday," he said.

Foxysox leads 14-horse field

Sunday's $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap over 1 1/16 miles has drawn a full field of 14 fillies and mares. The 118-pound starting highweight is Foxysox, a 3-year-old filly who is making her first start on the main track.

Trained by Carla Gaines, Foxysox won three turf stakes last winter and spring and was 10th in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland in her last start on Oct. 16.

Midnight Lute gets ready for Malibu

Midnight Lute, the flashy winner of the Perryville Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 13, worked five furlongs in 59.80 at Hollywood Park on Thursday, preparing for the $250,000 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-olds over seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.

Trainer Bob Baffert said that he shipped Midnight Lute to Hollywood Park to work him over the synthetic track. Baffert worked Midnight Lute at Hollywood Park before shipping him to Keeneland in October.