Breeders' Cup Board Supports 'Tour,' OKs Drug Tests

The Breeders' Cup board of directors on Monday officially endorsed the proposed Thoroughbred Championship Tour, and also said it would use a new drug-testing protocol being designed by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association for all graded stakes.

Breeders' Cup management had recommended the board facilitate the TCT, a proposed series of stakes on five "event days" that would bridge the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. The TCT would be funded primarily by owners, but it would be linked to the Breeders' Cup and National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

Breeders' Cup president D.G. Van Clief Jr. said the organization's executive committee recommended it kick in $3 million a year over five years to support the TCT.

The drug-testing protocol will begin this fall at Belmont Park, Keeneland, and Santa Anita Park, where the World Thoroughbred Championships will be held. Van Clief in early July said Breeders' Cup most likely would use the protocol beginning with this year's event, and the board gave its seal of approval.

"In publicly indicating its desire to be on the same page with the American Graded Stakes Committee, our board wanted to make a statement regarding the high importance it attaches to seeing the industry move toward uniform testing protocols," Van Clief said in a prepared statement.

TOBA has tied the testing to its graded stakes program. If jurisdictions don't implement the enhanced drug-testing program, graded stakes at tracks in those states will lose their grades.