Kitten’s Point

I’m disappointed to say that I’ve been issued a ruling by the Kentucky Racing Commission for a medication positive with Kitten’s Point at Keeneland in April. Kitten’s Point tested above the legal limit for methocarbamol, a muscle relaxant, after her win in the Bewitch Stakes.

Also known as Robaxin, the medication is considered a controlled therapeutic substance by racing jurisdictions, including Kentucky, with a recommended withdrawal time of 48 hours. Kitten’s Point was last treated seven days before the race. She tested at 2.9 ng/ml of plasma, above Kentucky’s limit of 1.0.

After a stewards’ hearing this week, she was disqualified from the win and I was penalized with a $500 fine and a five-day suspension – my first medication violation in 23 years as a trainer. While I  always realized the possibility of a violation despite the highest degree of diligence and understand the need for penalties, in these circumstances I am convinced that my staff and I followed all the required protocols and  I plan to appeal the decision for a variety of reasons, all of which were presented at the stewards’ hearing.

 First, there appears to be no research providing an accurate withdrawal period for a horse treated with Robaxin for an extended period of time.

Another concern was over the way Kitten’s Point’s sample was handled. Rightly so, trainers are held to extremely high standards by modern-day testing (samples can be tested to precise levels; a nanogram is a billionth of a gram, for example). Accordingly, racetracks and commissions should be held to the same high standards when it comes to the way our samples are handled.

While it would be easier to accept the suspension and pay the fine, I believe it’s important to follow through with the appeal process. This case points out a disturbing problem with medication policies in general, and highlights the challenges all trainers are facing with inconsistent guidelines and inadequate protocols.KITTEN'S POINT The Bewitch GR III - 54th Running Keenland Race Course     Lexington, Kentucky April 24, 2015    Race #09 Purse $150,000 1-1/2 Miles-Turf  2:30.28 Augustin Stable, Owner H. Graham Motion, Trainer Edgar Prado, Jockey Cay Dancer (2nd) Maria Maria (3rd) $13.60 $7.40 $5.20 Order of Finish - , , ,  Please Give Photo Credit To:  / Coady Photography

Coady Photography


  1. Gary Wilson, DVM, MSOctober 8, 2015

    There is no indepth research providing an accurate withdrawal period for a number of drugs. Puts veterinarins and trainers in an awkward and unfair position. Best of luck.

  2. Stan SchulzOctober 8, 2015

    This case points out the inadequacies of the testing facilities and a lack of national standards and procedures. Surely, Trainer Motion will be exonerated.

  3. William WatersOctober 7, 2015

    Good luck, Graham. Your record speaks for itself–decades of integrity and class.

  4. Maureen PeatrossOctober 7, 2015

    I am behind you 100%. It is important that every aspect and every angle be looked at seriously to insure an accurate playing field for all involved. Good luck to you Graham.

  5. peta ryanOctober 7, 2015

    Anita and Graham,

    Erin put your article on the chatter for West Point partners, I would question the accuracy of the result. 2ng/mL is extremely low and the method they use to assay is by high performance chromatography. I read one article describing the method and the lowest detection limit was 10ng/mL, meaning the signal from the lowest signal of the drug to be able to distinguish from the background. I wonder who came up with 1 ng/mL.


    1. Anita MotionOctober 7, 2015

      Thank you Peta. We are exploring all the science available to help with our appeal. Thanks again.

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