Trainer Nick Zito.

Trainer Nick Zito.

Barbara D. Livingston

Zito Vows to Continue Legal Fight

Trainer Nick Zito says he'll take a New York appeals court ruling Thursday upholding a 15-day suspension and $2,000 fine for a positive drug test for Lidocaine involving one of his horses to a higher court .

"I'm dumbfounded," Zito, a two-time Kentucky Derby-winning conditioner, told the New York Post after an appellate division of the State Supreme Court voted 5-0 against him. "Now I'm insisting to go before the magistrate. I'm adamant. It's a matter of principle."

Zito was appealing a decision by the State Racing and Wagering Board.

Mark's Miner, a 2-year-old making his first start at Saratoga in the summer of 2000, returned a post-race positive for traces of Lidocaine, a local anesthetic.

The SRWB hearing officer, George Dranichek, noting no Zito horse had had a positive test in 28 years, recommended a fine, but no suspension. The board, by a 2-1 vote, opted instead to add the 15-day ban to the trainer's punishment.

"Some of the most respected names in racing testified in my behalf," Zito said. "I just don't understand. We didn't do anything wrong."