Drug-Testing Plan for Graded Stakes Delayed

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association delayed implementation of its drug-testing protocol for graded stakes in the United States because not all jurisdictions were prepared to implement it, the American Graded Stakes Committee said July 14.

The previous enforcement date for the rules was July 1. The committee, in a release, said it already conveyed the change in plan to racing commissions, racetracks, and horsemen's groups.

The committee said it would have been unfair to enforce the implementation date on one state and not another. It did say Iowa, New Jersey, and Virginia voluntarily implemented the protocol on their graded stakes.

In all, there are 480 graded stakes this year, most of them in California, Florida, Kentucky, and New York.

"We continue to work with state racing commissions and their labs to address any scientific and regulatory concerns," Steven Duncker, chairman of the graded stakes committee, said in a release. "We want to make sure we have this right, and that it is correctly implemented. Not only do we want to ensure the integrity of the grades assigned, but we want to help the (Racing Medication and Testing Consortium) and the industry achieve uniform testing standards."

Duncker said the committee would use the results from Iowa, New Jersey, and Virginia as it moves forward. The committee will meet in August to set a new implementation date for the plan, which mandates that jurisdictions enhance the testing of post-race samples in order to retain the grades assigned to their stakes.