By Dr. Scott Stanley and Dr. Rick Arthur - Horse racing was ahead of other sports in implementing a drug-testing program, and in many ways we are still the pacesetters. We cast a broader net for more drugs than any other sport.
New York racing regulators July 31 adopted a series of new rules, including more restrictive prohibitions on betting by racetrack mutuel tellers and final action on a provision to combat "milkshaking" of horses.
The American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association will add four commonly used anabolic steroids to the list of substances for which horses must be tested in graded stakes effective Jan. 1, 2008.
The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium received $100,000 contributions from the New York Racing Association and the United States Trotting Association, and $50,000 contributions from the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and the Hambletonian Society, the organization announced July 26.
Horsemen and chemists believe drug positives aren't cut and dried, but regulators suggest the interests of the public, members of which may not understand the science of drug testing, must be protected.
The state veterinarian for the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority mistakenly tossed out two split samples from two horses that had tested over the approved limit for the approved bleeder medication Salix. Because of the mistake, the investigation into the overages has been dropped.
Medication, equine health, and the impact advance deposit wagering has on the economics of racing will share the spotlight when The Jockey Club hosts its 55th annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing Aug. 19 at the Gideon Putnam Resort and Spa in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Dr. Tom David has been hired as equine medical director for the Louisiana State Racing Commission effective July 9.
Word is circulating in Kentucky that cobra venom, a substance used to kill pain, was found by investigators during a June 26 search of trainer Patrick Biancone's barn at Keeneland.
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association will address distribution of racing content, equine drug testing, and health insurance during workshop discussions at its summer convention scheduled for July 19-22 in Williamsburg, Va.
The Ontario Racing Commission, in an effort to target prohibited substances in racehorses, is requiring that all racehorses be made available to have a "biological sample" taken at any time without prior notice.
Capital Play, one of four bidders for the New York Thoroughbred racing franchise, said June 7 it would funnel $45 million to equine and community programs over a 20-year period should it win the right to operate Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga.
The 20 starters for the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) were tested for the performance-enhancing drug erythropoietin (EPO) May 2.
Implementation of a training stable that would produce samples for equine drug testing, and hiring of an equine medical director have the support of the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council, but both are hold for at least a few months.
Charges were dropped against a Nebraska veterinarian accused of injected horses with vodka after three witnesses in the case couldn't be located to testify.
Kentucky lawmakers differ on the reasons legislation that would have provided stable funding for the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority died during this year's General Assembly session. Meanwhile, a call has gone out for legislators to rally around a push for expanded gambling in the state.
The Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission will issue hefty fines and lengthy suspensions for anyone caught using blood-doping agents effective April 10.
Time is running out for legislation that would provide the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority with about $5 million a year and spare racetracks the cost of equine drug testing.
The Ontario Racing Commission will allow trainers with positives for aminorex, a methamphetamine-like substance, to enter horses in races in the province as the investigation into the origin of the drug continues.
Positives for a methamphetamine-like drug in racehorses have several laboratories and investigators working to determine its origin.
Research shows small amounts of stimulants and therapeutic drugs can be detected in stalls and other locations on the backstretch, and that has horsemen concerned given sensitive testing methods and regulations that don't make provisions for environmental contamination.
The Jockeys' Guild has filed a petition with the California Horse Racing Board asking that a jockey be paid his share of the purse from a Bay Meadows race in which his mount was later disqualified for a drug positive.
Immigration, medication, and simulcast contracts are among the topics on the agenda for the National Horsemen Benevolent and Protective Association's winter convention.
The California Horse Racing Board has moved forward with its revised equine drug regulations and tougher penalties for offenders.
A Nebraska veterinarian has been accused of injecting racehorses with vodka. It is believed to be the first prosecution for administering alcohol to racehorses in the United States.
The California Horse Racing Board Medication Committee will consider major changes to the state's medication rules and penalties during a meeting Jan. 9 at Santa Anita Park.
The California Horse Racing Board has filed complaints against trainers Art Sherman and Wesley Ward for medication violations.
The number of race horses that failed drug tests in California has nearly doubled since 2000, and the offenses rarely result in disqualification or other stiff penalties, the Orange County Register reported in its Dec. 10 edition.
Racing officials Dec. 7 confirmed a push for regulation of anabolic steroids, and also said the therapeutic substances could be upgraded to Class 3 under Association of Racing Commissioners International guidelines by April 2007.
Delaware is taking a harder line on use of erythropoietin and similar blood-doping agents.
As Churchill Downs prepares to host the Breeders' Cup World Championships, Kentucky regulators are examining the state's drug-testing policies and procedures. Upgrades, however, may hinge on state funding.
Trainer Scott Lake, who currently leads the nation in races won, is facing a 30-day suspension handed down by the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission after a second positive test for clenbuterol at the current Delaware Park meet.
The Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council has allotted $1.5 million over three years to partner with the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium on a research project to determine withdrawal guidelines and threshold levels of therapeutic medications.
Trainer Gregory Martin, who in March pleaded guilty to charges for his role in an alleged multimillion-dollar illegal gambling ring, was sentenced to two years probation with six months home confinement Sept. 28 during an appearance in a New York federal court.
Kentucky has performed random testing for blood-doping antibodies in racehorses of all breeds for more than a year, but now it's testing for the actual proteins, a process that could put more teeth in penalties.
The year's Jockey Club Round Table conference had a decidedly New York theme, with the New York Racing Association espousing its progress and commitment to Thoroughbred racing and breeding in the state, and a representative of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing in New York saying the panel is carrying out its mandate.
Members of the Hambletonian Society said they've made personal and collective commitments to raise $100,000 for the continued funding of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. The decision was made at the July meeting of the society, which has been involved with the RMTC since last year.
A Pennsylvania laboratory is the first to employ a definitive test for erythropoietin--the blood-doping agent commonly known as EPO--and the test resulted in the suspension and fining of a trainer of Standardbreds in Ontario, Canada.
Trainer Jeff Mullins said he was informed by the California Horse Racing Board that one of the horses in his care, Robs Coin, tested positive for a prohibited amount of the anesthetic mepivacaine, and that he is awaiting the results of split-sample tests.
The California Horse Racing Board is studying ways to promote the health of racehorses and reduce on-track injuries, as well as implement a plan for out-of-competition testing.
California will soon release the results of a study that will reflect trends in connection with blood samples taken from about 6,000 racehorses for the purpose of "milkshake" --or TCO2 testing-- last year.
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association Medication Committee will review California research that helped develop thresholds for two therapeutic medications during its meeting July 14 in Bloomington, Minn., as part of the National HBPA summer convention.
California stewards issued a unanimous decision July 5 that Intercontinental, official winner of the Palomar Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) at Del Mar last September, "did not gain an unfair advantage when it raced with a late treatment of pre-race bleeder medication."
The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium plans to recommend a model policy on anabolic steroids later this year and also has approved a plan to establish model policies for withdrawal times for therapeutic drugs used in racehorses.
Doug O'Neill, Hollywood Park's leading trainer, will run his horses out of a detention barn for the next 30 days because one of his starters tested over the permitted level for total carbon dioxide in May.
Out-of-competition testing of racehorses can be problematic, but some jurisdictions are making headway to combat use of performance-enhancing substances that aren't administered on race day.
The Ontario Racing Commission in Canada issued a directive May 19 requiring all owners and trainers to make their horses available for random blood testing.
The Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council is devising a sweeping plan for security in barn areas at the state's racetracks, but it appears funding for an increase in manpower could be the major impediment.
Thoroughbreds at Ohio racetracks will be tested for excessive levels of total carbon dioxide (TCO2) effective May 1, the Ohio State Racing Commission announced.
The national Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, which has succeeded in getting most or all of its model rules package for raceday medication and drug testing approved in a majority of jurisdictions, is officially seeking financial commitments from industry stakeholders to support ongoing integrity efforts.
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