Delaware, Horsemen Hope to Pay Late Purses

The two parties are addressing the legal ramifications as result of drug test delays.

The Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and Delaware Park are working to ensure horsemen are promptly paid purse money in light of delays in the receipt of results of equine drug tests.

Delaware regulations require a clean test to come back before purse money is released. Delays at the LGS laboratory in Lexington, as well as almost 30 "cloudy" tests, have resulted in purse and claiming money being held up, according to the Delaware THA.

See related story

"We spoke with management at Delaware Park to pay purse money and claim money, and guarantee it out of the purse account," Delaware THA executive director Bessie Gruwell said July 22. "The attorneys are drawing up the agreement. Everyone wants to blame Delaware Park when it's totally innocent in this.

"There's a big snowball effect in all this. We can't pay purses until the tests clear, and people depend on the money to keep their operations going."

Horsemen suggested the situation could lead to a regulatory change in Delaware to avoid similar situations in the future. In many jurisdictions purse money is paid quickly, and if there is a subsequent disqualification for a medication positive, the money must be returned.

Delaware is among the states that this year began operating under the National Uniform Medication Program, which includes adjusted threshold levels and administration times for 26 therapeutic medications. Gruwell said when anabolic steroids were banned for use in racing about five years ago, a grace period allowed for a smooth transition.

Horsemen have said they don't know the reason for the numerous cloudy test results.They do continue to fill the entry box; there have been concerns the developments would lead some of them to back away.

"It's a travesty that people are doing the right things, have been doing the right things, and are happy about having a level playing field, yet they are the ones they are catching," Gruwell said.