Trainer Steve Asmussen facing suspension.

Trainer Steve Asmussen facing suspension.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Asmussen Faces Six Month Suspension and Fine

By Claire Novak
Steve Asmussen, North America's leading trainer in 2004 and 2005, is facing a six month suspension for a medication infraction involving the Class 2 drug mepivicaine, a local anesthetic.

According to the Louisiana Racing Commission, Asmussen's appeal on a May 18 ruling was rejected when stewards reviewed the issue June 23. The trainer was fined $2,500 and must postpone training July 10 through January of 2007. He has 30 days to make a court appeal on the decision.

Asmussen's suspension follows a March 24 optional claiming race at Evangeline Downs in which his starter, No End in Sight, tested positive for mepivicaine. The trainer is also appealing a ruling on an Acepromazine positive at Sunland Park in New Mexico that would suspend him for six additional months. That ruling was handed down along with a purse redistribution demand and a $1,500 fine after traces of the prohibited substance were found in the Asmussen-trained Boots Are Walking following a victory in a March 4 stakes race. The trainer was granted a stay on the issue in June and is scheduled to go before stewards Aug. 30.

Asmussen is North America's second-leading trainer by earnings and wins this year. His horses are stabled at Arlington, Belmont, Churchill Downs, Lone Star, and Louisiana Downs.