Kentucky racing officials said a program for heightened security and expanded drug testing for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs went smoothly.
Jim Gallagher, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, said he worked closely with the Jefferson County, Ky., Sheriff's Office to provide some of the manpower. The KHRA, Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, and Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau also participated.
Sheriff's officers reported for duty at 5 a.m. EDT May 5, one for each horse in the Derby and Oaks, Gallagher said. They stayed with the horses for three days and even followed them to the racetrack for workouts, Gallagher said.
"I instructed the (sheriff's officers) not to let anyone in the stalls within four hours of the races," Gallagher said. "Even if a groom went into a stall, there was strict observation of what was going on."
Participation by the national medication consortium is part of a new program whereby the group hires individuals to serve in a security capacity at major events. Dr. Scot Waterman, executive director of the consortium, said earlier a team was on hand at Keeneland for the April 16 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Waterman said the consortium responds to requests for assistance. It contacts regulators and asks them to release security personnel, then picks up their expenses and per diem rate. The "big day" security teams are part of the consortium's overall plan, he said.
On the testing front, Gallagher said all horses at Churchill Downs were subject to TCO2, or "milkshake," tests. (The tests began for all horses at the start of the Churchill meet.) There were no high levels of alkalinizing agents recorded, Gallagher said.
All graded stakes Derby week were subject to the upgraded testing under American Graded Stakes Committee guidelines. Instead of the usual 30 ELISA tests performed on samples, the laboratory tested for 90 substances, Gallagher said. Results of those tests are pending.