New York Enacts Pre-Race 'Milkshaking' Tests

The New York State Racing and Wagering Board voted Jan. 19 to adopt an emergency rule allowing for the collection of pre-race blood samples from horses entered into races at the state's Thoroughbred and harness tracks to test for excess alkalizing agents (milkshaking) that could affect the outcome of the race.

The blood samples are sent to the Equine Drug Testing Program at Cornell University, where the laboratory detects and confirms the presence of elevated levels of total carbon dioxide (TC02) in the horse's system.

"It is important to ensure the betting public that horses that compete in pari-mutuel races in New York State have not been tampered with and that no advantage has been given to a horse chemically or otherwise," said Board Chairwoman Cheryl Buley. "New York continues to lead the way on substance and drug detection which reflects upon the integrity of this industry."

Along with establishing a pre-race blood gas testing program, the new rule also enacts procedures to detect excess levels of total carbon dioxide (TCO2) in Thoroughbred and harness racehorses and establishes penalties for trainers and other persons liable for TCO2 violations.

"Milkshaking" is a term used to describe a horse that has been forcefully administered a mixture of carbonate, sugar and other substances in an attempt to enhance race performance. This procedure is prohibited in New York State.

New York is also currently one of only a handful of states that have instituted post-race TCO2 testing, which has been in place since February of last year.