07/01/2003 12:00AM

New graded stakes policy


Beginning in 2004, horses racing in graded stakes in the United States must be subjected to extensive postrace drug testing if the race is to retain its grade.

The American Graded Stakes Committee, administered by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, said Tuesday that any race that does not conform to its new drug-testing protocol will be ineligible for a grade next year. The protocol calls for testing for approximately 140 drugs in any graded race, the committee said.

Andrew Schweigardt, the secretary of the committee, said that the new protocol will be tested this fall in grades stakes at three racetracks: Belmont Park in New York, Keeneland Racecourse in Kentucky, and the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita in Southern California.