Graded-Stakes Testing Plan Implemented in Kentucky

The Kentucky Racing Commission Oct. 2 approved extensive drug testing in conjunction with the American Graded Stakes Committee mandate that it be implemented in order for stakes to retain their grades.

The costs will be borne by racing associations in the state. It currently costs $118 to $128 to test one sample in Kentucky; that cost would jump to about $200 per sample because the number of substances tested for would go from 30 to 108 under the proposal.

Dr. Walter Hyde of Iowa State University, where Kentucky's drug-testing laboratory is located, said his lab could accommodate the upgrade.

"It's not new testing to us," Hyde said. "We'll just be doing more testing. We're already geared up and prepared to start as soon as the Is are dotted and Ts are crossed."

The program will start Oct. 3 at Keeneland, which along with Belmont Park in New York and Oak Tree Racing Association at Santa Anita Park will serve as a pilot this fall.

"We're very supportive of this," said Rogers Beasley, director of racing at Keeneland. "We all understand there is going to be some fine-tuning."

Hyde said there is no technique recommended by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, which administers the graded stakes committee, that isn't being used at Iowa State University.

"We've been doing TOBA-like testing," Hyde said. "The Kentucky testing program is one of the best in the United States."

In other business, on the basis of an opinion by racing commission attorney J. Bruce Miller, Kentucky Equine Drug Council funds will be used to pay Dr. Richard Sams of Ohio State University $30,000 for consultant services rendered. An earlier opinion by the state attorney general said drug council money couldn't be used to pay for services outside of the state.