01/02/2011 9:30AM

Stewards restore Grade 3 win to Upperline, lessen penalty for Stidham

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Stewards at Hawthorne issued a new ruling Friday in the case of a medication positive called on Upperline after she won the Arlington Oaks on July 3, restoring the purse to her owners and the Grade 3 win to Upperline’s record, while voiding a fine imposed on her trainer, Mike Stidham, and reducing Stidham’s suspension from 15 days to the 10 he already served in December.

A minute trace of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, etodolac, was detected in Upperline’s urine after her win the Arlington Oaks. The positive test triggered a disqualification, a $1,000 trainer fine, and a 15-day trainer suspension when stewards initially ruled on the case last summer.

But those penalties were based on etodolac’s classification in 2007 by the Association of Racing Commissioners’ International as a Class 3 medication. ARCI makes its classifications in the form of non-binding model rules, which then are picked up and made into law by individual racing jurisdictions. Stidham appealed the Upperline ruling, and last month his attorney, Louisville-based Joel Turner, discovered that the Illinois racing rule applied to Upperline referenced an earlier version of the ARCI Uniform Classification of Foreign Substances under which etodolac was listed as a Class 4 drug. The Illinois Racing Board then remanded the case back to stewards at Hawthorne, who revised the penalty using ARCI class 4 medication standards.

The IRB has taken measures to correct the administrative loophole and properly classify etodolac as a Class 3 drug.