09/17/2010 9:43AM

Out-of-competition testing begins in Kentucky


LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has signed an emergency regulation that would allow horseracing regulators to draw samples from racehorses at any location, and at any time.

Beshear’s approval of the out-of-competition testing rule expands the authority of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission by giving regulators the ability to test urine and blood samples from horses that have not already raced, at racetracks, training centers, and farms – including locations outside of the state. Kentucky is now the fifth racing jurisdiction with the power to conduct out-of-competition testing, along with Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, and Ontario, Canada. Similar rules are pending in New York.

Dr. Mary Scollay, the equine medical director of the commission, said on Friday that “it’s reasonable to expect that we could do tests at any time” since the emergency regulation was signed on Wednesday.

The commission and its committees aggressively pushed the regulations through the rule-making process to comply with requirements of Breeders’ Cup Ltd. that host tracks have the ability to pull out-of-competition samples. The Breeders’ Cup will be held Nov. 5-6 at Churchill Downs.

Simultaneously with the approval of the out-of-competition rules, the commission also approved a new set of rules revamping its testing requirements to reduce by half the number of post-race samples it will test for illegal drugs. Scollay said that the costs saved with the reduction will provide funding for the out-of-competition testing program.

“I would think those funds will be redirected to allow us to do some more strategic out-of-competition testing,” Scollay said.