10/12/2005 11:00PM

CHRB to take over testing next week

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ARCADIA, Calif. - The California Horse Racing Board said it will begin administering the testing for high bicarbonate levels, or milkshakes, on Wednesday, taking over responsibility from a consortium of racetracks and horsemen's organizations that has conducted testing since the beginning of the year.

The administration of bicarbonates is believed to give horses more stamina.

According to a statement released by the CHRB on Thursday, all Thoroughbred runners will be tested.

The shift in responsibility will lead to more severe penalties for trainers whose horses are found in excess of the permitted level of bicarbonate, or total carbon dioxide: 37 millimoles per liter of blood.

A trainer with a horse in excess of the permitted level could face a fine or suspension, following a hearing before track stewards or an administrative law judge. In addition, purse money earned by a horse found to be in excess of the permitted level could be forfeited.

Under the consortium's penalties, trainers who have had a horse test higher than the permitted level have had their starters placed in a 24-hour detention barn for a 30-day period. Since the beginning of the year, seven trainers in Southern California have been cited for high levels.

Under the CHRB's penalty guidelines, the 24-hour detention barn policy will be enacted while a case is being processed.

Unlike tests for most other illegal medications, a split bicarbonate sample will not be taken unless a trainer requests and pays for it. The CHRB's rules allow a trainer to have a split sample taken before a race for $165. If the primary sample, tested at the University of California-Davis, indicates excessive levels, a second test can be taken at Iowa State or Ohio State universities.

Trainers must request split sample forms on entry days and submit the forms by 10 a.m. on race days for afternoon programs, or by 4 p.m. for evening racing.

Earlier this year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation allowing the CHRB to conduct testing for high bicarbonate levels. The CHRB had hoped to implement its testing program at the start of the Oak Tree meeting on Sept. 28, but the program was delayed to finalize procedures.

Camera problem prevents review

After an objection in Wednes-day's sixth race, run on the hillside turf course, stewards were unable to properly review the head-on videotape because the zoom on a camera did not work.

When the field made the right-hand turn to continue down the hill, a head-on camera only displayed the horses several hundred yards away. It was not until the horses ran closer to the camera position that the individual runners could be more clearly identified.

Tyler Baze, who rode eighth-place finisher Megabyte, claimed foul against Corey Nakatani, who rode third-place finisher Swing Your Partner. The stewards ruled that the videotape was inconclusive.

Santa Anita officials said Thursday that adjustments were made to fix the problem. The zoom on that camera had worked well before this meeting.

Hollywood Story may try BC Distaff

Hollywood Story, the multiple stakes winner who finished fourth in the Grade 2 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap on Oct. 2, is being considered for the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Belmont Park on Oct. 29, trainer John Shirreffs said.

Thursday at Hollywood Park, Hollywood Story worked five furlongs in 1:01. The winner of the Hawthorne Handicap at Hollywood Park in May, Hollywood Story is winless in her last four starts, including a second by a nose to Tucked Away in the Clement Hirsch Handicap at Del Mar in August.

Owned by George Krikorian, Hollywood Story finished 10th in the 2004 Breeders' Cup Distaff at Lone Star Park. Hollywood Story has never started at Belmont Park.

"The race is a possibility," Shirreffs said of the BC Distaff. "George has been talking about it a little."

Giacomo almost ready for workout

Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo is galloping and is within "a week or 10 days" of a workout, Shirreffs said.

Unraced since finishing seventh in the Belmont Stakes in June, Giacomo underwent surgery in June to have bone chips removed from his left front ankle and right knee. He resumed racetrack exercise when Shirreffs's stable returned to Hollywood Park from Del Mar in early September.

"He's really filled out, and he's bigger and stronger," Shirreffs said. "As a 3-year-old, he's always looked like he was playing catch-up, bodywise."

Shirreffs is hoping to have Giacomo ready for a return to racing by the end of the year.

* Santa Anita has changed its post time for Oct. 29, moving the first race from 9:40 a.m. to 9:10 a.m. The track will show seven live races - two before the Breeders' Cup simulcasts from Belmont Park and five after the Breeders' Cup. The final post time is 4:54 p.m.