11/14/2007 12:00AM

Churchill drops test policy

EmailChurchill Downs has dropped its recently announced policy of reserving the right to test horses who management had suspected were scratched for inappropriate reasons.

Churchill's general manager, Jim Gates, said Nov. 4 that the track sought to report trainers or veterinarians to the stewards when blood-testing evidence was found to expose bogus scratches, but the chief steward, John Veitch, said this week that he had no authority to act on those reports.

Horsemen's representatives had openly bristled at the concept, saying it called into question the integrity of trainers and veterinarians.

Gates had conceded that scratches were more problematic at Churchill in the spring than in the fall, when field size generally is well above the national norm and largely unaffected by scratches.

Gates said there were no plans to implement the testing of scratched horses at Calder or Fair Grounds, other tracks owned by Churchill Downs Inc.