Split Samples Mistakenly Tossed in Kentucky

After two split samples were tossed away, an investigation into overages of the permitted bleeder medication Salix has been dropped.

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 those two samples were tossed away, the investigation into those two overages have been dropped. Investigations in the other overages will continue.

The mistake by Dr. Lafe Nichols was caused when he misinterpreted information from Iowa State University, which conducts post-race testing for the state, KHRA executive director Lisa Underwood said.

The error has resulted in a change of procedure for the KHRA. Underwood said samples where initial testing yields a suspicious result will be segregated from other samples inside a secure refrigerator where the samples are stored.

In addition, she said Iowa State would now change the wording on results report. "We will have a different understanding of what their wording means," Underwood said.

The missing samples in question were from five horses that raced during the Spring with impermissible amounts of Salix. The unusual number of Salix overages has resulted in a questioning of the testing practices and Underwood, Nichols, and chief state steward John Veitch were conducting a meeting with practicing racetrack veterinarians about reasons why there were so many overages when the samples were discovered missing.

The trainers whose horses tested over the approved limit for Salix during testing by Iowa Sate were permitted to ask for split samples to be tested at a KHRA-approved testing laboratory. If the split is returned to show more than 100 nanograms, then the trainer would be called before the stewards for a hearing.

Under state regulations, horses may receive up to 10 cubic centimeters of Salix prior to racing. The medication must be administered in a single intravenous dose at least four hours before post time.

In Kentucky, a first-time violation for a Salix overage calls for a $250 fine with no suspension or loss of purse money.