New York lawmakers have given approval to move the state’s equine drug-testing laboratory from Cornell University, which handles more than 100,000 samples annually, to Morrisville State College. The Senate and Assembly both approved the move March 1.
New York State Racing and Wagering Board chairman John Sabini said the testing facility will remain in the Ithaca area, but run by the state university college at Morrisville. Officials said the decision to keep the lab near Cornell instead of moving 70 miles away to Morrisville was done to accommodate current lab workers.
The legislation was needed to end nearly four decades of exclusive lab testing by the Cornell facility. The college’s lab had become increasingly outdated, and Cornell officials wanted the state to kick in more money for a new lab.
Morrisville officials have talked of turning the lab into a money-maker down the road. In an interview last year with The Blood-Horse, Morrisville president Raymond Cross envisioned expanding the testing service to other states and, someday, a lab for human performance drugs in athletes.
“The equine drug testing program is a perfect fit with Morrisville State College and its highly competent academic staff,’’ Sabini said in a statement.
Cornell officials have warned for years about the lab’s conditions. Last fall, the school said it would take $9 million to build a new lab—money New York State, given its worsening fiscal conditions, could not afford. Cornell then asked New York to find another home for the lab.