Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Wednesday he won't challenge a 30-day suspension for violating horse medication rules in Kentucky, although he insisted he was trying to prevent his horses from coughing, not give them an edge.
McLaughlin's suspension, which runs through Dec. 30, was imposed by Kentucky's racing stewards. The three horses listed in violation _ Bluegrass Princess, Liston and Hatheer _ tested positive for the banned Ipratropium, a synthetic compound used to help keep the breathing passage clear.
According to the stewards' ruling, McLaughlin waived a formal hearing and the suspensions will run concurrently because he was unaware the horses tested positive before they raced.
McLaughlin didn't return calls but in a statement explained that his veterinarian prescribed the drug for horses in his stable that developed a cough from a bronchial reaction to hay dust. The drug has no performance-enhancing effect, McLaughlin said, and he withdrew the drug at least two days before a horse raced.
He said a trace level wouldn't produce a positive test in many racing jurisdictions, but acknowledged Kentucky has some of the nation's strictest drug rules.
"I agreed to participate in accordance with those rules and, therefore, I accept full responsibility for these violations," McLaughlin said.
He said he had asked the racing commission to test blood samples from the horses, in addition to their urine, to verify that they weren't given the drugs on race day. However, he decided not to appeal to avoid a "protracted legal proceeding."
McLaughlin, whose stable is based out of New York, has trained numerous prominent horses, including 2007 Dubai World Cup winner Invasor.
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