Anne M. Eberhardt

Zero Steroid Positives at Keeneland Sale

Buyers of 94 of the 3,605 yearlings sold during the 2008 Keeneland September yearling sale requested tests for exogenous anabolic steroids during the 15-session auction which ran from Sept. 8-23 in Central Kentucky. Keeneland reported all tests were returned negative.

Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton implemented the testing policy into their conditions of sale this year to address a perception that some yearlings were bulked up on steroids in an effort to make them look bigger and stronger.
At its Kentucky July yearling sale, Fasig-Tipton reported 22 requests for tests on the 305 horses sold. During the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale blood was tested on 30 of the 122 yearlings sold.

Tom Thornbury, Keeneland associate director of sales, said the sale company did not have a number of test requests in mind before the sale based on the number of requests from yearling sales conducted earlier in the year. He added the testing was also available during Keeneland’s 2008 January sale and one buyer requested testing be performed.

“I think consignors and buyers alike are very well versed in the conditions of sale,” Thornbury said. “I think everybody is playing it straight and the test results continue to prove that.”

Under Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton’s conditions of sale, the buyer pays $500 for the testing. The sale of the yearling can be forfeited if blood tests finds levels of non-naturally occurring anabolic steroids that are consistent with being given within 45 days of the sale.