Dickinson Surprised by Flunixin Positive

Trainer Michael Dickinson said he is surprised that one of his horses, Lofty Call, tested positive for Flunixin at Belmont Park last summer, and that the stewards in the case "were fair and understanding."

On Friday, Dickinson received a one-week suspension in the case of Lofty Call, who finished third in a race at Belmont July 21 and was disqualified from that finish.

Flunixin is an anti-inflammatory used to treat horses with musculo-skeletal disorders and colic.

"We were very surprised that Lofty Call tested positive for Flunixin," Dickinson said in a statement. "It may have been a mistake on our behalf. We obviously would not use such a well-known and easily detectable anti-inflammatory on purpose."

Dickinson said he requested a split sample of blood to be sent for independent testing, but that the New York State Racing and Wagering Board informed him it "had lost the blood."

Noting that the stewards were "fair and understanding" in connection with his case, Dickinson said, "We accept their ruling because even unintentional and mistaken use should be held accountable."

The suspension began Sunday but is unlikely to cause much interruption in Dickinson's operation since he uses the privately owned Tapeta Farm and can send an assistant along during the ban.