The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium board of directors has approved new national laboratory standards for testing, the implementation of a laboratory accreditation program and a new independent Equine Quality Assurance Program.
Since a rash of five horse breakdowns in the opening five days of racing at the current Santa Anita meet -- resulting in four fatalities -- there has been just one race-related death since Dec. 31, Dr. Rick Arthur told the California Horse Racing Board.
Testing for bicarbonate levels has nearly eliminated the incidence of "milkshaking" Thoroughbred racehorses in California, leading officials to consider alternatives to testing every horse that is entered at the state's tracks.
A steroid-free Breeders' Cup took another step forward when the California Horse Racing Board reclassified the four most common anabolic steroids, effectively outlawing the substances for horses in training in the state.
What veterinary records a new horse owner is entitled to was one of the issues raised at the California Racing Medication & Security Summit held July 27 at Del Mar.
Only about 12% of horses tested for clenbuterol had measurable levels of the medication in 193 blood samples taken recently, according to Dr. Rick Arthur's report Thursday to the California Horse Racing Board medication committee.
While steroid use by human athletes has caused a firestorm of controversy, trainers in California are being warned to avoid using anabolic steroids on their horses because of increased testing and uncertainty about withdrawal times. But the director of the state's drug-testing laboratory said the concern is misplaced.
The California Horse Racing Board approved pre-race blood testing for "milkshakes" during its Jan. 20 meeting, but implementation of the proposal will have to await passage of a state law exempting the tests from split-sample requirements.
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