American Graded Stakes Committee Implements Drug Testing Protocol

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association's American Graded Stakes Committee announced Thursday it has implemented its drug testing protocol.

Working with racing commissions and their testing laboratories, racetracks and horsemen groups, the committee has implemented the protocol in each of the states that has conducted a graded stakes so far this year. That includes Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, and New York. Texas will implement the protocol later this month. Also, Delaware, Iowa, New Jersey, and Virginia voluntarily implemented the protocol on their graded stakes races in 2004 and will use the protocol again in 2005 when their meets begin.

The protocol lists 140 substances to be tested.

"We appreciate the cooperation we have been receiving from the commissions, labs, tracks, and horsemen groups," said Steven Duncker, chairman of the committee. "We have worked diligently over the last year to address the concerns raised and get this right. We are gratified to see the protocol being adopted and will work with those states that have graded stakes later in the year to see that it is fully implemented."

"The primary goal of this protocol is to ensure the integrity of the grades assigned, but we also hope this will be part of a broader industry initiative that leads to increased testing and the development of uniform laboratory standards," said Dell Hancock, a TOBA member of the committee.