05/29/2003 12:00AM

Zito sues wagering board

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NEW YORK - Trainer Nick Zito has filed an $8 million lawsuit against the New York State Racing and Wagering Board as part of his long-running fight to get overturned a medication positive three years ago.

The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, claims that the medication positive has harmed Zito's career. In addition to the monetary damages, the suit seeks an injunction that would prevent the board from enforcing a suspension and fine.

Leo McGinity, Zito's lawyer, was in court on Thursday, according to his office, and unavailable for comment.

Stacy Clifford, a spokeswoman for the board, said board officials would not comment on the lawsuit.

Mark's Miner, a horse trained by Zito, tested positive for lidocaine, a Class 2 local painkiller, after a race at Saratoga on Aug. 2, 2000. The board initially suspended Zito for 15 days and fined him $1,000. The fine was later increased to $2,000 after Zito lost an initial appeal, but the suspension was reduced to 10 days provided Zito did not have an additional positive during the next year.

In May, a New York court of appeals declined to hear Zito's appeal of the suspension and fine.