10/23/2014 3:38PM

Kentucky Horse Racing Commission sticking with lab

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission does not plan any immediate action to sever its ties with its drug-testing laboratory in the wake of a meeting with the lab’s top management Wednesday, the commission’s executive director said Thursday.

KHRC Executive Director John Ward called the meeting “productive” and said he was confident that the laboratory, LGC Science, will address a backlog of tests that have frustrated regulators and trainers in Kentucky, Indiana, and Delaware, the lab’s three major clients. Ward and the KHRC’s chairman, Robert Beck, met with the lab’s top management Wednesday after previous efforts to address the backlog failed.

“I think things are going to turn around,” Ward said. “Not overnight but very soon. I’ve got a lot of confidence in them.”

Ward said the lab was dealing with several “unforeseen developments” that hindered its efforts to address the backlog, including the August death of a company official who was being sent over from the lab’s parent company in Britain to iron out the lab’s problems.

“There have been a set of circumstances that no one could control,” Ward said.

The KHRC’s contract with the lab, which opened in 2011 just outside Lexington, expires Jan. 31. KHRC officials had said in the past week that they were considering backing out of the contract if the lab did not make assurances that the backlog would be resolved. In some cases, tests have failed to be done on samples that were submitted to the lab two months ago.