08/09/2006 12:00AM

Wolfson faces Illinois penalty


Can't Beat It, the 3-year-old colt who finished second in the Aug. 22 American Derby at Arlington Park, tested positive for the prohibited substance isoxsuprine after the race, the state steward at Arlington said on Wednesday.

A hearing has been scheduled for Thursday morning to determine whether the horse's trainer, Florida-based Marty Wolfson, will face a penalty because of the positive test, according to Joe Lindman, the Illinois state steward at Arlington. Isoxsuprine, a vasodilator frequently used by horsemen to increase blood circulation in the foot, is prohibited as a raceday drug in all racing jurisdictions.

Wolfson said Wednesday that he treated Can't Beat It with isoxsuprine more than 10 days before the American Derby, under guidelines in Florida that state the drug can be administered within five days of a race.

Wolfson said that the Arlington stewards informed him after the positive test that guidelines in Illinois caution trainers not to administer the drug within two months of a race under the state's zero-tolerance rules for isoxsuprine.

Can't Beat It earned $50,000 for his second-place finish. Under Illinois racing rules, any horse who tests positive for a prohibited drug cannot earn a purse.

Wolfson said that if the stewards rule against him, he will appeal the ruling to the state's racing commission. He also said that as a result of the positive test, he has decided not to ship Miesque's Approval to Arlington to run in the Grade 1 Arlington Million this weekend.

"There's no way I'm ever going to take a horse up to Chicago again," Wolfson said.

Kent Stirling, the executive director of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, said that Illinois is the only state in the United States that does not use so-called threshold levels when testing for isoxsuprine.

"It's ridiculous," Stirling said. "This was a trace-level positive, and it had no effect on the horse, and every other state lets trainers administer it within five or seven days of a race."