06/25/2014 3:00PM

Arapahoe Park to give bonuses for medication-free wins

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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.