The Kentucky Supreme Court denied trainer Graham Motion a discretionary review of his case against the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission this week. The case traces back to a drug positive for methocarbamol after the 2015 Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland.
Motion appealed the commission's ruling, which had included a five-day suspension, $500 fine and a disqualification of Motion runner Kitten's Point, which caused owner George Strawbridge to give up $90,000 in purse money.
In August 2017, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate ruled the commission acted arbitrarily in imposing its sanctions, citing a lack of scientific evidence for the methocarbamol threshold used in the test. The absolute insurer rule, which was designed to prevent trainers sidestepping responsibility for drug violations, states that trainers are ultimately responsible for a horse's condition, including results of a positive drug test, even if that test came about as the result of something other than the trainer personally administering the drug to the horse.
The Kentucky commission eventually adjusted the language of its rules allowing a trainer the opportunity to present evidence in their own defense.
The Kentucky Court of Appeals reversed Wingate's ruling in late 2018.
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