by JIM WELLS
Horsemen at Canterbury Park have become increasingly concerned the last few weeks about an increase in the number of positive readings on horses in their care.
The medication violations are almost exclusively for detection of therapeutic drugs. Of 71 citations this season, only two were for performance enhancing drugs.
The Minnesota Racing Commission has scheduled a special meeting on Tuesday night at the Shakopee Police Department to hear horsemen’s concerns.
Horsemen contend that the reason for so many citations has to do with the dramatically increased sensitivity of new testing procedures.
Horsemen believe that their horses are testing positive in tests that would have borne negative results in the past because of improved testing methods.
Horse owner Jack Walsh, an attorney, says testing now will detect drugs to the trillionth as opposed to the billionth.
To understand such microscopic efficiency, consider this:
A man 32 years old has lived a billion seconds.
The difference between the testing procedures, horsemen say, is similar now to finding a drop of water in a swimming pool or a grain of sand on the beach.
If medication given five days before a race was safe in the past, they say it must now be given 12 days or longer.
Horsemen insist they were not informed of the change in testing efficiency as prescribed by their contract. That is the reason, they say, that there were 54 violations this July as opposed to two in the same month last year.
Racing Commission executive director Dick Krueger said Sunday that he expects the matter to be cleared up within the next few days.
“It will all wash out by the end of next week,” he said.
“We hope he’s right,” said HBPA president Tom Metzen, who pointed out that five positives were declared on horses in the Claiming Crown.
Horsemen are concerned that many of their colleagues will not return to Canterbury Park next year without assurances the issue has been resolved.
THE $25,000 MTA STALLION AUCTION LASSIE, LADDIE STAKES
Dean Butler and his father-in-law Bernell Rhone teamed up for a riding-training double in these two races dedicated to three-year-old progeny of stallions whose service was sold at the 2006 MTA stallion auction.
She’s Better Loud, a daughter of Bravo Bull and Goldie’s Sis, beat four female opponents, finishing in 1:18 as an easy winner.
“My father-in-law told me to hang on and stay near the front. She doesn’t like anything in her face,” said Butler, who has wrapped up his second consecutive riding title.
The winning horse is owned by Sandra Rasmussen and River Ridge Ranch and was bred by Iowa State University.
Butler and Rhone came right back with Rustic Road, bred and owned by Curtis Sampson, in the race for the boys. Rustic Road looks like the real deal after demolishing four rivals in 1:16 and 1/5.
Russ Sampson, who has been tauting this horse as the real deal, had this to say:
“He came up from Tampa Bay and got hurt in the stall or on the track,” Sampson said. “He was laid up, but Bernie and his crew are the best here and got him back on his game. When Dean and Bernie like a horse, he’s usually a good one.”
Rustic Road, by Demidoff from Quest for Prize, is a good one.