06/25/2014 4:00PM

Arapahoe Park to give bonuses for medication-free wins


Arapahoe Park in Aurora, Colo., on Friday will launch a groundbreaking bonus program rewarding trainers whose charges win races “void of any raceday medication” in their system.

The lone medication that can be administered on race day in Colorado is Lasix, though there are allowable limits on anti-inflammatory drugs that legally must be given at least 24 hours in advance of a horse’s race.

The bonus level will be $1,000 per victory, according to a release Arapahoe issued Tuesday. It is available only to trainers who spend the entire meet stabled at the track. Those earning bonuses will receive the money at the end of the current mixed meet, which wraps up Aug. 17.

“The future of racing is going to be raceday medication-free, and we at Arapahoe Park want to be ahead of the curve,” Bruce Seymore, executive director of Arapahoe’s parent company, Mile High Racing and Entertainment, said in a release. “We in Colorado already have one of the strictest testing procedures in the country. This new Race-Day Medication-Free Incentive allows us to continue to improve our standards.”

The connections of a horse taken off Lasix for a race must declare at the time of entry that the horse will not race on the diuretic. Colorado’s racing rules allow for a horse to have one of three nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories present in its system at a certain level in a post-race test, either phenylbutazone, flunixin, or ketoprofen. However, if a horse is declared off Lasix and the anti-inflammatories at the time of entry and a raceday test shows the presence of those drugs, it will be treated as a violation by the state, according to an official with the Colorado Racing Commission.

The bonus program was created by Arapahoe and does not require any outside approvals from state regulatory bodies, according to Arapahoe spokesman Jonathan Horowitz. The funds for the bonuses will come from an Arapahoe account independent of purses and handle, he said.

Richard Holmes More than 1 year ago
You could take this idea a step further. If tracks started offering a few races with big purses where there was no medication allowed, I think horse owners would pressure their trainers to run drug free. For example, the purses for maiden races at Del Mar this summer is $75,000. Why not make half of the maiden races drug free and make the purses $90,000. Then make the other half of maiden races with drugs allowed but for a purse of only $60,000. where do you think owners would want their trainers to run? The vast majority of owners would pressure their trainers to run drug free for the $90,000 purse, rather than with drugs for the $60,000 purse. This would be a simple way to start weaning drugs out of the sport.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
tracks are all about taking money not giving it! get real!
Richard Holmes More than 1 year ago
I'm not suggesting that they give more money. In my example, I was talking about how the purse for a Maiden Special Weight at Del Mar is $75,000 right now. My suggestion was that in half of those races they should continue to allow medication but to lower the purse by $15,000 to $60,000. In the other half of those races, they should raise the purse by $15,000 to $90,000 and not allow medication. So in total the track would be paying out the same amount in purses.
Lawrence Vaccarelli More than 1 year ago
RICHARD HOLMES...that is a fantastic idea !...jealous I didn't think of that...bravo !
Richard Holmes More than 1 year ago
This is the kind of innovative thinking that can turn racing around. I've talked to so many fans and bettors that have walked away from the game because of all the drugs. Handicapping is supposed to be about the horses. Instead it has very much become about which trainers are using what drugs. It's insane. I can't believe that it has gotten to this point. It has gotten so much worse over the past 30 years that is is crazy. The foxes have been guarding the hen house for far too long. They have to get drugs out of racing or racing will continue to go downhill. They need to totally do away with the injecting of ankles. They could probably cut fatalities down by 80% if they outlawed the injecting of ankles.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great job! If a small track is smart enough and gutsy to do this, why can't or should I say won't a big track do this????
raymond More than 1 year ago
way to go
Gary Peacock More than 1 year ago