The first horse to exceed the established limit of 37 millimoles in the New York Racing Association's new blood gas testing program has been cleared through a second battery of tests over a three-day quarantine period conducted in the race day security barn at Belmont Park. The blood gas testing program is used to detect whether a horse has been administered a "milkshake."Worth See'n, a 3-year-old colt trained by Richard Violette Jr., finished eighth in a turf allowance race at Belmont on June 18 and initial blood gas test results revealed a number above the 37-millimole legal threshold. NYRA rules provide for a quarantine challenge where the horse in question is granted the opportunity to go through a three-day battery of tests to check and balance the initial results."Worth See'n underwent a quarantine challenge and demonstrated an exaggerated physiological response to Lasix administration, elevating his blood gas level over the permitted threshold," said Dr. Celeste Kunz, NYRA's chief examining veterinarian.
The three-day quarantine challenge concluded July 1 and final test results were produced the following day. Violette is now cleared of any wrongdoing and all fines and penalties have been dismissed. "When we established our blood gas testing program and our race day security barns, we wanted to be very certain that we were doing everything possible to protect and preserve the integrity of racing," said Charles Hayward, president and CEO of NYRA."The effectiveness of our protocol showed that the system works. The quarantine challenge provided us all the back-up documentation that we believed necessary and any horse initially suspected of exceeding the blood gas level gets a fair opportunity to be re-tested in a high-security environment."