09/01/2004 11:00PM

Security measures proposed

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Benoit & Associates
Reba's Gold (right), who ran first or second in 10 stakes, has been retired because of a strained muscle.

DEL MAR, Calif. - A race-day detention barn that would quarantine horses from as many as three races per day could be in place by the start of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting on Dec. 26, Santa Anita vice-president Chris McCarron told an ad-hoc security committee of racing officials on Thursday.

McCarron said the detention barn would house horses for six hours in advance of a race, and would provide additional surveillance via security cameras. The detention barn would be surrounded by a chain-link fence and would be guarded by security personnel. The barn would operate at a daily cost of $530, McCarron said.

The proposal for the detention barn was discussed by a group of horsemen and racing officials who have met occasionally since the start of the year in an effort to eliminate any perception of cheating on the backstretch.

Thursday's meeting was by far the most productive that the committee has held.

California Horse Racing Board commissioner Roger Licht insisted that the racetracks move forward on programs to provide better backstretch security through surveillance cameras.

McCarron suggested the detention barn proposal toward the end of the meeting. Last winter, the idea was discussed by the committee, but was met with resistance by horsemen who were reluctant to move a horse from one stable to another barn on race-day.

McCarron said he anticipates opposition from horsemen, but said the idea is overdue.

"This should have been decided a year ago," McCarron said.

Prerace milkshake testing coming

Officials with the Oak Tree Racing Association told the committee that they are moving forward with a plan to conduct prerace bicarbonate testing when the association's fall meeting begins at Santa Anita on Sept. 29.

Random bicarbonate, or milkshake, testing has occurred in Southern California since the spring. The act of giving a horse sodium bicarbonate, typically through a tube directly into the stomach, is considered a possible performance enhancer.

During Oak Tree, trainers who have horses that show a total carbon dioxide reading of greater than 37 millimoles per liter in plasma will be subject to surveillance. Trainers who have horses test in excess of 39 millimoles might have their stalls revoked.

During random testing at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park earlier this year, 1 percent of the horses tested were in excess of the 37 millimoles level, according to Licht.

The figure rose to 10 percent in testing conducted during the current Del Mar meeting, Licht said. He said a different lab conducted the Del Mar testing but that similar machines were used for the findings.

The trainers who had horses test in excess of 37 millimoles were warned by CHRB investigators, but no actions were taken. The CHRB is in the process of writing a rule forbidding excess carbon dioxide levels.

Oak Tree recently sent letters to trainers informing them of its policy and stating that the association reserves the right to install surveillance cameras in barns. It is part of a more widespread policy of enhancing security, according to Oak Tree director Dr. Rick Arthur.

"It will not be business as usual," Arthur said. "We are going to keep people on their toes."

Resplendency makes stakes debut

Resplendency, the sharp winner of an allowance race in her only start this year, makes her stakes debut in Saturday's $75,000 Torrey Pines Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Trained by Bob Baffert for Bob and Beverly Lewis, Resplendency won an allowance race over six furlongs by five lengths on Aug. 1, her second consecutive victory. Last October at Santa Anita, she beat maidens by three lengths over 6 1/2 furlongs.

The restricted Torrey Pines Stakes marks Resplendency's first start at a mile. She faces six other rivals, many of whom are unproven at the distance.

Alphabet Kisses and Potion have won around two turns. Alphabet Kisses won an allowance race over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Hollywood Park on June 10 and finished second in the Fleet Treat Stakes for state-breds over seven furlongs on July 24.

Potion won an optional claimer over a mile at Calder on June 29, but was eased in the Mia's Hope Stakes there on Aug. 2. Owned by Fred Brei, Potion was transferred to trainer Vladimir Cerin in late August at the recommendation of Florida trainer Jim Hatchett, Cerin said.

Coastal Strike's next up in the air

The front-running win by Coastal Strike in Wednesday's $100,000 Generous Portion Stakes for 2-year-old statebred fillies has left trainer Clifford Sise in a dilemma. He cannot decide which statebred stakes Coastal Strike should try at the Oak Tree meeting.

The options are the $75,000 Cover Gal Stakes over seven furlongs on Sept. 29 or the $125,000 California Cup Juvenile Fillies over 1 1/16 miles on Oct. 16.

"You can't run in both," Sise said. "They're too close."

Unbeaten in two starts, Coastal Strike led throughout the Generous Portion Stakes, winning by a half-length over 9-1 Memorette. She finished six furlongs in 1:10.64. Excessively Nice, the 3-5 favorite, finished third and emerged from the race with a sore shin that will require a rest, Baffert said.

Sise was surprised that Coastal Strike was on the lead.

"She was too geared up," he said. "I've got to teach her to rate. All the money is in the routes."

Coastal Strike races for Larry and Marianne Williams, who bred the filly.

Reba's Gold retires

Reba's Gold, a three-time stakes winner who placed in seven other stakes, has been retired after suffering a strained muscle in the San Diego Handicap on Aug. 1, trainer Dan Hendricks said on Wednesday.

Reba's Gold, 7, will stand at stud in 2005 at owner Alex Trebek's Creston Farms in Creston, Calif. A fee has not been determined, Hendricks said.

Reba's Gold won 8 of 37 starts and $717,422. He won the Pomona Invitational at Fairplex Park and the Steinlen Handicap at Hollywood Park in 2002 and the Grade 3 Seabiscuit Handicap at Bay Meadows last year.

A frequent traveler, Reba's Gold finished second in the Grade 3 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park in 2002, third in the Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap and Goodwood Handicap in 2002, and third in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park in 2003.

After finishing fourth in the San Diego Handicap, Reba's Gold was found to have a muscle strain above a knee, Hendricks said. The horse was recently sent to the farm.

"He needed to be turned out for three or four months," Hendricks said. "We didn't feel we were going to bring him back as an 8-year-old. We were probably going to retire him anyway and this moved our schedule up."