Agency Asked to Review Kentucky Drug Positives

The state Office of Inspector General has been asked to review reports that are said to show the former Kentucky Racing Commission failed to take action on drug positives called by a testing facility in 2002-03.

The Interim Joint Subcommittee on Licensing and Occupations requested the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority turn over the documents during a July 8 meeting.

"We were asked to provide documentation to the licensing and occupations committee, but I don't know how that process will work," Jim Gallagher, executive director of the KHRA, said during a July 11 meeting. "I don't know if we'll (turn over the information) independently, or if we'll rely on somebody outside ourselves making a determination on the accuracy of the information.

"Maybe it would be best to have the inspector general to review those materials before they were in fact turned over to the licensing and occupations committee."

The non-reported positives--about 20 in total, including Class I drugs--were identified in conversations between Gallagher and laboratory officials at Iowa State University, which conducted the tests.

Gallagher said it's possible for the authority to backtrack to determine which tracks the positive samples came from, either winners of races or horses randomly selected by stewards for testing.

"Specifically, because we have a paper trail that would (link) the sample to the horse, if we do have a post-race positive, we have the ability to have a chain of custody that is available," he said.

Gallagher said he believes authority members hope that as a result of the findings, "a situation like this will never occur again in the future."

The legislative subcommittee met to discuss the proposed changes in Kentucky's race-day medication policy. The KHRA has approved a stricter policy along the lines of the national uniform policy being adopted by most racing states. A few legislators, however, questioned the need for any changes.

The Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, which supports the current race-day policy that allows for up to five medications up to four hours before a race, has called for more dialogue before any changes are made.