Sanction against Al Stall Jr. filly Sign is nullified

awincze@herald-leader.comJuly 17, 2013 

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission announced Wednesday it had reached a settlement with trainer Al Stall Jr. and owners Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider that will void a decision by state stewards to disqualify the filly Sign from her win in the 2012 Grade II Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs because of a positive test for the Class C medication methocarbamol.

The initial decision by the stewards nullified Sign's 4-length win last Oct. 28 and forced a forfeit of the purse money won. Under the settlement, Stall shall be held responsible for both the positive test on Sign and a second methocarbamol overage that came up on another trainee, Upon Reflection, after a victory in a Nov. 7 maiden claiming race at Churchill. Stall accepts a $500 fine on the first violation and a $1,000 fine on the second but the disqualifications and purse redistributions originally ordered by the stewards are rescinded.

During a hearing on the matter in May, attorneys for the connections of Sign argued that the stewards had misinterpreted changes made last year to state regulations and believed they were bound to order a disqualification. Following a commission meeting on Wednesday, KHRC general counsel Susan Speckert said it was the position of the state now "that the regulation is discretionary and there was a mistake made in interpreting the regulation."

Methocarbamol, also known as Robaxin, is a muscle relaxant commonly used in therapeutic treatment.

■ In other commission news, equine medical director Dr. Mary Scollay reported during the meeting Wednesday that through 2013 to this point, Kentucky Thoroughbred racing has a fatality rate of 0.94 per 1,000 starts, well below the North American average of 1.92 per 1,000 starts reported for all of 2012. The recently concluded Churchill Downs Spring Meet had three racing fatalities and three training fatalities.

Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Twitter: @horseracingHL. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com.

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