Turfway Keeps Box Open Given Light Entries

Turfway Park, which opens Wednesday night and has been light on entries thus far because of a reluctance by some trainers to enter horses because of changes in race-day medication regulations, is keeping the entry box for Thursday night's program open through Wednesday morning.

Rick Leigh, racing secretary at the Northern Kentucky track, said entries for the Thursday program would be accepted through about 10 a.m. Wednesday, when the regular Friday program would also be drawn.

Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Roger Crittenden Sept. 2 denied a Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association motion for a temporary injunction to stall implementation of a restrictive race-day medication policy. During two days of testimony, horsemen and veterinarians claimed the key issue is they don't have withdrawal guidelines for therapeutic drugs they have been using on race day and fear positives could be called because of the confusion.

An official with the Kentucky HBPA suggested there could be reluctance by some trainers to enter horses when the policy was scheduled to take effect Sept. 7.

Turfway carded 10 races for opening night and attracted 75 entries, down from the normal level. The comparable meet last year averaged 8.48 horses per race.

Turfway will unveil its new Polytrack opening night.

Kentucky Horse Racing Authority executive director Jim Gallagher said meetings with horsemen have been scheduled for Wednesday at Churchill Downs, Thursday at Turfway, and Friday at Keeneland.

"We're going to work with the trainers and vets to transition into the rule," Gallagher said. "We've been talking with vets about developing a withdrawal guideline schedule. But we're not changing the testing regimen being done by Iowa State University."