A TOUGH COOKIE TO DIGEST FOR HORSEMEN

by Jim Wells

The annual HBPA horsemen’s welcoming lunch is scheduled in the Dean Kutz Memorial Chapel, following the draw on Thursday, and will include the usual fare.

HBPA president Tom Metzen will introduce the board with some opening remarks. Track president Randy Sampson will assure horsemen of the track’s commitment to their safety. Mark Erickson of facilities and Sean Corrigan and Mark Ott of security will provide an overview of regulations on the backside. Commission veterinarians will be introduced.
Petra Hartman of Industrial Labs will explain testing procedures and sensitivity of new equipment.

A cookout lunch will follow, but horsemen might have a hard time digesting other fare on the menu, which will include information on the new medication standards.

There are new allowances this year and although they provide a cushion over some of last year’s zero tolerance standards at Canterbury, penalties for violations could be severe.

Last year, a trainer could continue to pay a fine, even after three violations for something as innocuous as a bute violation. Three strikes on the bute limits this year could result in a 30-day suspension. Unlike previous racing seasons, a trainer’s family or close associates can not take over the stable during the suspension. The trainer is prohibited from contact of any kind with his stable.

“Horsemen can expect some stronger penalties. We want everyone to understand that,” said the HBPA’s Patrice Underwood.

Horsemen will find a list of the 2011 medication thresholds in the first issue of the 2011 condition book now available in the racing office. The list includes the 14 medications allowed under Minnesota law and the limits permitted on each.

ONE OF ARIZONA’S BEST

Stall superintendent Mark Stancato made a pilgrimage to Turf Paradise in Phoenix last winter to encourage trainers in the Valley of the Sun to take their stock north to Shakopee at the conclusion of the Arizona meet.

Among the Phoenix trainers on this year’s list is Mike Chambers, a perennial training champion at Turf Paradise who arrived with rider Anne Von Rosen, a native Minnesotan.

Stancato credits Von Rosen will convincing Chambers to give Minnesota a try this year rather than heading to Seattle as he has done previous summers.Von Rosen, riding largely for Chambers, tied for second in the rider standings at Turf Paradise.

Chambers finished the meet in Phoenix with 71 winners, 41 seconds and 20 thirds from 182 starts. In second place with 57 wins was Robertino Diodoro.

A FATHER-SON REUNION

Kevin Eikleberry has returned to Canterbury with a stable. He is on the grounds with nine horses to open the meet. His son, Ry, returns, too, to take another run at the riding title in Shakopee after finishing second in 2010.

Ry won the Phoenix title easily again with 147 winners, 118 seconds and 113 thirds from 805 mounts. Jake Barton and Von Rosen were next with 92 wins apiece.

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