'Zero Tolerance' an Issue in Asmussen Case

'Zero Tolerance' an Issue in Asmussen Case
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Trainer Steve Asmussen

Even after an eight-hour hearing July 7, the arguments still aren’t over concerning a May 2008 drug positive for one of Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen’s horses.

Asmussen’s Timber Trick tested positive for a lidocaine metabolite after winning a maiden race at Lone Star Park in Texas 14 months ago. Asmussen and his attorneys contended that lidocaine, a local anesthetic, wasn’t injected into the filly, and they believe the level found was so minute the positive is the result of accidental contamination.

That argument continued July 8 when Asmussen’s attorneys, Karen Murphy and Maggi Moss, filed an objection that cited other cases in which the quantitative amount was considered by the Texas Racing Commission. One of the defense requests that had been turned down was to have the blood tested to show the amount of the lidocaine metabolite.

“It’s so minuscule, they need to quantify it,” Moss said after the hearing. “We said we’d stand behind the truth even if it was lidocaine.”

The commission issued a statement saying the level doesn’t matter since Texas has a zero-tolerance policy for lidocaine, which is rated as a Class 2 violation by the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

Asmussen’s attorneys had earlier asked a Texas district court for data on a split sample, but were told they had to exhaust their administrative appeals before the court could have jurisdiction.

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