08/16/2010 8:44PM

Stolis Winner regains All American Futurity win


Stolis Winner was reinstated as the winner of the 2008 All American Quarter Horse Futurity by the New Mexico Racing Commission on Monday after the panel accepted the recommendation of a trio of hearing officers in the case.

Stolis Winner had been disqualified on a caffeine positive in a stewards' decision that was appealed by his owner, Jerry Windham, and his trainer, Heath Taylor. From there, the case went before the hearing officers and they recommended the rulings against Stolis Winner and Taylor, who was suspended and fined, be dismissed. The recommendation was accepted with four votes, with one commissioner abstaining. Taylor learned the final decision at the end of a lengthy commission meeting Monday that wrapped at about 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

“I’m exhausted, but very relieved,” he said shortly after the meeting ended. “It’s like 10 million pounds off of you. I’m immensely happy with the result. We just found out. We’re exhausted, but exuberant. We’re starting to get some closure to it.”

Stolis Winner won his third Grade 1 race of the 2008 season in the All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs in September. But in January 2009, he was disqualified from the win. The case then made its way before the hearing officers in May 2010, and the panel issued a 21 page report in the matter. Ruidoso, the report noted, experienced extensive flooding about a month before the 2008 running of the race, and the possibility of environmental contamination was one of several reasons behind the recommendation. It cited that remnants of the flooding still were evident at the time of the All American.

The report also indicated that a party was held in the test barn the night before the 2008 All American, and items that contained caffeine, such coffee, chocolate cake and Coca-Cola, were present at the event, which 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 ng/ml of caffeine in the urine. New Mexico has a zero tolerance policy on caffeine.

The report noted that in general, advances in technology “now cause the detection of exceptionally low concentrations of drugs and their metabolites in equine biological fluids. These new capabilities complicate the regulatory interpretation of positive drug tests and require greater administrative oversight of the process to ensure the fair application of medication rules.”

Stolis Winner is on the verge of becoming Quarter Horse racing’s all-time leading earner, and could surpass the record in his next start, which Taylor said is to come in the $100,000 Refrigerator at Lone Star Park on Oct. 2.

Stolis Winner was the world champion Quarter Horse in 2008.