Gulfstream Park will become the first racetrack to use the graded stakes out-of-competition testing grant fund, beginning with the March 29 Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I), it was announced March 11 by The Jockey Club and The Stronach Group.
The fund, unveiled at the 2013 Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing last August, provides for financial assistance from The Jockey Club to help defray qualifying expenses associated with out-of-competition testing programs. In both 2014 and 2015, The Jockey Club is making up to $250,000 available in funding.
"We owe it to our horsemen and our fans to provide fair competition," said Tim Ritvo, president, chief operating officer, and general manager of Gulfstream Park, a property of The Stronach Group. "Out-of-competition testing is a way for Gulfstream Park to achieve that and the Florida Derby will be the first race in our program."
"The Jockey Club strongly believes that out-of-competition testing promotes the integrity of Thoroughbred racing and over time will better the breed," said James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club. "We are extremely pleased that Gulfstream Park has stepped forward to become the first to participate in this program and we look forward to working with other interested tracks that wish to take advantage of it."
A Thoroughbred racetrack's participation in the graded stakes out-of-competition testing grant fund is voluntary. Thoroughbred racetracks that elect to participate in the fund may receive reimbursement to defray some of the costs associated with out-of-competition testing subject to certain criteria.
Racetracks interested in participating in the graded stakes out-of-competition testing grant fund and obtaining the eligibility criteria should contact The Jockey Club for more information.
The graded stakes out-of-competition testing grant fund is also available to state regulatory authorities seeking to enhance their existing testing programs by applying directly to the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) for funds.