07/02/2001 11:00PM

Kentucky Cup pushed back a week

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Turfway Park received approval Tuesday from the Kentucky Racing Commission to move its popular Kentucky Cup Day back one week, from Saturday, Sept. 15, to Saturday, Sept. 22.

The commission also approved a plan from Kentucky Downs - which cards only grass races - to move its Kentucky Cup Turf Festival from Saturday, Sept. 15, to Sunday, Sept. 23, in order to hold the grass races on the same weekend that Turfway hosts the Kentucky Cup dirt contests.

"We plan to promote a 'super weekend' between the two tracks," said Ryan Driscoll, general manager of Kentucky Downs.

The commission approval also means that Kentucky Downs, near the Kentucky-Tennessee border, will cancel racing for Tuesday, Sept. 25.

* Also at the meeting, the commission said it will delay creating a new drug-testing contract for the state by withdrawing its request for proposal (RFP), and the contract will be re-bid. The RFP, which commission chairman Frank Shoop praised in April as extremely comprehensive in describing the testing requirements, has been withdrawn due to what commission vice-chairman Frank Jones, Jr., called a "technical hitch."

Jones did not elaborate but emphasized that "the RFP must remain exclusively in the care and control of the four-member selection committee" in order to prevent legal concerns and other cause for delay. He also said that the RFP would be held off until after an August report by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association on its "supertesting" results. The current contract with Truesdail Laboratories has been extended in the meantime.

* In other action at its regular meeting, the commission announced it will hold three hearings this summer to discuss issues and challenges facing horse racing and breeding in Kentucky. The hearings are scheduled for July 24 in Covington, Aug. 7 in Bowling Green, and Aug. 29 in Louisville, with specific locations and times to be detailed later.