09/10/2010 5:22PM

Breeders' Cup strengthens drug policy

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The board of directors of the Breeders' Cup approved a resolution on Friday that will ban any trainer from the 14 races of its year-end event if the trainer has been found to be in violation of any rule regarding the use or possession of any Class 1 drug in the preceding 12 months, the organization announced on Friday.

The new resolution, which will take effect for the 2011 event, strengthens an existing policy passed last year that bans any trainer from the Breeders' Cup year-end event if the trainer's horse tested positive for a Class 1 or Class 2 drug in the preceding year's event.

Class 1 drugs include those medications that have performance-enhancing effects and no legitimate therapeutic use in a horse, such as opiates and blood-enhancing drugs, whereas Class 2 drugs are those that have performance-enhancing effects "and are not generally accepted as therapeutic agents," according to the Association of Racing Commissioners International, an umbrella organization for racing commissions that develops model rules and penalties for racing. Positives for Class 1 drugs are extremely rare in Thoroughbred racing.

The new policy will apply to a positive in any racing jurisdiction, the Breeders' Cup said. In most racing jurisdictions, positives for Class 1 drugs draw a minimum of a one-year suspension for the trainer, in accordance with the RCI's recommended penalties, so even without the new Breeders' Cup policy, a trainer with a Class 1 positive in the preceding 12 months would likely be ineligible to start any horses in the event while serving out the minimum suspension.

Also at the meeting, the board approved a new structure for nominations of foreign horses that is designed to "increase participation by the world's top horses," but the organization did not provide details about the new program, citing a press conference scheduled for Monday at Keeneland.

Board members of the Breeders' Cup contacted late on Friday declined to comment about the new program, citing the press conference.

Also at the Monday press conference, Breeders' Cup will announce "enhancements" to its Breeders' Cup Challenge program, which awards automatic berths in the 14 Breeders' Cup races through a number of stakes races held around the world in the months leading up the event. The program currently includes 65 races held at 23 tracks.

The board also re-elected William S. Farish Jr. as its chairman, and Greg Avioli as its president, the organization said.