Time, and Perhaps Medication Rules, Stymie Magna Series

The first of two rounds in Magna Entertainment's "Super Track Racing Series" has been canceled because of a lack of time to prepare and possibly because of complications tied to medication rules.

The first round of the series -- six $100,000 races at Santa Anita Park March 3 -- has been scrapped, the Magna-owned California track announced Tuesday. The second round, scheduled for March 10 at Gulfstream Park, Magna's Florida track, will go as planned, officials said.

The event is designed to generate interest as horses and jockeys from each track compete for bragging rights and hefty purses. It also is intended to boost field size, particularly in California. The series was first announced Feb. 23, only three days for before the first round was canceled.

"While the team competition received positive response from horsemen on both coasts, we underestimated what it would take to overcome the obstacles inherent in moving that many horses 3,000 miles and from one racing jurisdiction to another." Santa Anita president Jack Liebau said. "In essence, we just ran out of time."

Gulfstream president Scott Savin said the South Florida track would proceed as planned March 10, but he wouldn't comment further on why the first round fell apart.

Meanwhile, Gulfstream-based trainer Allen Iwinski, a supporter of the series who had entered two horses in the Santa Anita races, believes the reason may involve differing rules for medication -- in particular clenbuterol -- in the two states.

In Florida, the withdrawal time for clenbuterol is seven days, but in California, it's 21 days. With that two-week difference, a shipper from Florida could end up with a positive test.

"When the racing secretary here called to tell me about the cancellation, he said that probably half of the horses are using it," Iwinski said of clenbuterol, a bronchodilator used to keep horses that bleed from developing lung infections. "It's too bad, because I really liked the concept of the series. This is just another example of why we need uniform medication rules."

David Bailey, Gulfstream's racing secretary, declined to comment.

Santa Anita director of racing Michael Harlow said allowance races in the series that attract sufficient entries will be run for purses of $75,000 instead of the proposed $100,000 on March 3. The Thoroughbred Owners of California signed off on the change.

More than 50 California-based horses have been nominated to the "Super Track Racing Series." Liebau said he hopes a "sufficient number" of California horses compete in the Florida races.