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Del Mar Derby Winner|Gets to Keep $240K Purse

(CN) - The owners of the horse that won the 2007 Del Mar Derby will not forfeit the win or the purse money, even though the horse qualified for the race with a pair of tainted wins, a California appeals court ruled.

Medici Code won $240,000 by winning the derby. The horse qualified for the race by scoring victories in the Oceanside Stakes and the La Jolla Handicap, which took place earlier in the summer.

After Medici Code won the Del Mar Derby, he tested positive for Clenbuterol in the two qualifying races.

Glen Hill Farm, owner of second-place finisher Augment, sued the California Horse Racing Board to be declared the winner of the race and to claim the purse.

The trial court initially upheld the board's refusal to disqualify Medici Code, but later changed course and ordered the board to decide whether the derby purse should be redistributed, and if so, to whom. The board appealed.

The Los Angeles-based Second District Court of Appeal settled the matter, ruling that Glen Hill Farm is not entitled to win because it failed to file a protest with the race stewards within 72 hours.

"Glen Hill did not claim, let alone present evidence, that it was unaware of the board's publicly announced complaint against Medici Code within time to file a protest directly with the stewards," Justice Frances Rothschild wrote.

"And its claim that it could not file a protest until the Stewards' decision became final is belied by its own conduct on October 16, 10 days before that decision, when its attorney wrote to the board protesting Medici Code's qualification."

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