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Horse Racing Commission Contract Will Create New Lab in Ky.

By Brenna Angel

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- – The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has agreed to a contract that will keep equine lab testing in the Commonwealth. Blood and urine samples from horses competing in Kentucky are currently sent out of state. At Tuesday's meeting in Lexington, the commission voted to have HFL Sport Science handle lab services beginning February 2011.

"When we were doing our research and asking people what are the best labs in the world, the lab in Newmarket they call it, the HFL lab came up. So HFL eventually approached us and said they had been interested in establishing a lab in the U.S., and things just fell together," Commission Chairman Robert Beck said.

HFL is a British-based company. Beck says he's not concerned that the organization is new to U.S. lab testing and won't immediately have accreditation here.

"I'm confident that they will be able to do it. And if you think about it, we don't have a lab here now. So if we're going to get a lab here, whoever it is we're going to get is going to have to move here and set up shop. The difference between moving from England and moving from someplace else in the U.S. I don't think is that significant."

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission currently contracts with the University of Florida for lab work. Beck says having a local testing facility will create jobs, reduce testing time, and save racetracks about 20 percent in lab fees.

HFL is still deciding on where to locate its new lab.