08/04/2010 3:09PM

Panel calls for dismissal of ruling in Stolis Winner case

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A panel of hearing officers has recommended dismissal of the rulings in the case of Stolis Winner, who was disqualified from his victory in the 2008 All American Futurity after testing positive for caffeine. The report of the three-member panel will be considered by the New Mexico Racing Commission at its next meeting on Aug. 16.

Heath Taylor, who trains Stolis Winner, was suspended six months and fined $1,500 as part of the original rulings in the case.

The All American Futurity, the most famous race for Quarter Horses, is run each Labor Day at Ruidoso Downs. The track experienced extensive flooding about a month before the 2008 running of the race, and environmental contamination was one of several reasonings behind the recommendation. It cited that remnants of the flooding still were evident at the time of the All American.

The report also indicates a party was held in the test barn the night before the 2008 All American, and items that contained caffeine – such as coffee, chocolate cake and Coca-Cola were present at the event that drew 30 to 50 people. According to the document, there are commission rules in place that require the test barn to be free from caffeine contamination.

Stolis Winner’s urine sample contained an “estimated” 125 nanograms per milliliter of caffeine, according to a lab in Iowa. A split sample was sent to a lab in Louisiana, and it reported an “estimated” 84.2 nanograms per milliliter of caffeine in the urine. New Mexico has a zero tolerance policy on caffeine.

The report noted that in general, advances in technology cause the detection of “exceptionally low concentrations of drugs and their metabolites in equine biological fluids” which requires “greater administrative oversight of the process to ensure the fair application of medication rules.”

Stolis Winner last raced on July 10, and won the Grade 1 Texas Challenge Championship at Sam Houston.