Kentucky Panel Adopts Policy on Horse Identification

Horses racing in Kentucky will now be identified the morning of their respective races and before leaving the paddock following a directive from Jim Gallagher, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.

Gallagher, during an Oct. 18 KHRA meeting at Churchill Downs, told authority members the state veterinarian would now check the lip tattoo of all horses entered on the day's card, and the tattoos would be checked again and verified in the afternoon by the horse identifier prior to leaving the paddock for the track.

Gallagher said if the state veterinarian couldn't verify the lip tattoo--if the horse is unruly or if the tattoo is faded or difficult to read--the horse identifier would be notified and required to do a full inspection of the horse.

The new directive follows an incident at Ellis Park this summer in which the horse Boggy Creek wasn't properly identified and ran under the name Parker Valley in a maiden race. Boggy Creek finished fifth.

"There were a series of missteps that happened at Ellis Park during the summer," Gallagher said. "If these procedures are followed, these mix-ups will not occur in the future. This new directive is meant to be a duplication of work."

In another directive, Kentucky will now require trainers or owners of horses that test positive for a prohibited substance to sign a release form if they waive their right to appeal the drug positive and choose not to have the split sample tested at an independent laboratory.

The authority also approved racing dates for the 2005 season:

Ellis Park will return to a five-day racing week instead of the six-day schedule in 2004. Ellis Park will run 41 days (July 13-Sept. 5). Mondays and Tuesdays will be dark.

Churchill Downs will offer a 52-day spring meet from April 30-July 10, with Mondays and Tuesdays dark except May 3, May 30, and July 4. The 17-day fall meet will begin Oct. 30 and conclude Nov. 26, with Mondays and Tuesday dark except for Nov. 8.

Turfway Park will hold its 68-day winter/spring meet from Jan. 1-April 7. The track will be dark Mondays, Tuesdays, and Easter Sunday (March 27). The 22-day fall meet will run from Sept. 7-Oct. 6, with Mondays and Tuesdays dark. The 25-day holiday meet will begin Nov. 27 and conclude Dec. 31, with Mondays and Tuesdays dark with the exception of Dec. 26-27. The track will be dark Dec. 24-25.

Keeneland will offer a 16-day spring meet from April 8-29, and a 17-day fall meet from Oct. 7-29. The track will be dark Mondays and Tuesdays during both meets.

Kentucky Downs, which offers only turf racing, will race six days from Sept. 17-27.