Steroid Prohibition Topic at Saratoga Racing and Gaming Institute

Albany Law School’s Saratoga Institute on Racing and Gaming Law got off to a fast-paced start Aug. 7 when Dr. Don Catlin, a pioneer in the field of athletic drug testing, addressed a group of assembled lawyers and industry representatives gathered at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Catlin, founder of the UCLA Olympic Analytical Lab that developed the first sport testing program in the United States, explained the mission of the Equine Drug Research Institute, a non-profit linked to the Jockey Club and advised by a board of seven experts. He then elaborated on the Institute’s efforts to fund Anti Doping Research (ADR), which develops new drug testing methods and provides them to equine labs without charging a fee.

“We’re quite pleased to have this association going,” Catlin said. “Safety and integrity is a deep and biting concern to the racing industry.”

Catlin specifically addressed the organization’s efforts to curb the use of anabolic steroids (AAS) in Thoroughbred racehorses.

 “Testing for AAS is going to be complex, it’s not simple, it requires special equipment,” Dr. Catlin said. “But in this country there are many specialized equine labs for testing. Everybody is going to need top level resources. It is a big job and there’s a fair amount of work to do for the labs, but they’re good at this and they’ll be able to get it done.”

“We have an issue, we have a problem, and we’re working on a solution,” he finished. “My sense is that a lot of legal work will come up, but whether they should ban anabolic steroids or not, the pressure will end up pushing them over the line. I think this industry is going to be pushed to regulate the use of those drugs and I wish you well as you attempt to do so.”

Presentations at the Saratoga Institute on Racing and Gaming Law included an update on Washington developments from American Horse Council President JayHickey, a session with a panel of guests regarding the New York Racing Franchise (including Richard Rifkin, special counsel to Governor Eliot Spitzer), a seminar on ethics and integrity in racing, and an update on legislative and regulatory developments in New York racing.

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