Kentucky Considers Drug-Testing Proposal

The Kentucky Horse Racing Association, at its next meeting Aug. 16, hopes to consider an upgraded drug-testing plan offered by the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

In a related matter, new members of the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council, which hasn't met since last October, will be announced in August. Terms of the current members expire Aug. 1.

The graded stakes committee has mandated that all jurisdictions adopt its testing protocol in order to maintain grades awarded to stakes. The committee had hoped to have the plan in place July 1, but some jurisdictions were unable to comply.

Dell Hancock, a racing authority and graded stakes committee member, said of the 140 substances on the TOBA list, 79 are mandatory and 61 are optional. That breakdown could change before the protocol is implemented, she said.

Under Association of Racing Commissioners International classifications, 40 of the substances are Class 1, 40 Class 2, 30 Class 3, and 30 Class 4. Class 1 drugs aren't considered acceptable in urine and blood samples, while Class 4 substances are therapeutic in nature.

"The optional drugs are tricky simply because some just don't have tests," said Hancock, whose family owns Claiborne Farm in Central Kentucky.

"Some of the drugs aren't testable anywhere in the world," said Dr. Walter Hyde of Iowa State University, which currently holds Kentucky's equine drug-testing contract.

Hancock said California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, and New York are ready to implement the graded stakes drug-testing plan. Iowa, New Jersey, and Virginia already have done so.

Concerning the equine drug council, Connie Whitfield, vice chairwoman of the KHRA, said the state is in the process of appointing nine members. She said as soon as the individuals are appointed, the council would meet.