Keeneland Sets Parameters for 'Shake' Tests

Keeneland has issued the parameters and penalties for pre-race "milkshake" tests it plans to implement during its April 8-29 spring meet.

In a formal letter to trainers, Keeneland outlined the new rules and penalties regarding the testing, which will be conducted by or supervised by a Kentucky Horse Racing Authority licensed veterinarian.

"Milkshaking" refers to the administration of alkalizing agents for the purpose of altering the performance of a racehorse during competition. Under the policy, all horses racing at Keeneland will be required to undergo a pre-race blood test.

"Should any owner, trainer, or person responsible for the horse refuse or fail to permit the taking of the pre-race blood sample, that action shall result in the horse being ineligible to race that day at Keeneland," the letter stated.

Samples will be sent to the Ohio State University equine drug testing lab for analysis and a separate sample may, at Keeneland's discretion, also be sent to Iowa State University. The results from Ohio shall be determinative, and split samples will not be taken.

Keeneland director of racing Rogers Beasley said Keeneland would follow California and Florida on testing procedures. Currently, milkshake testing is under way at Santa Anita Park in California and Gulfstream Park in Florida.

"We're trying to be consistent, and one thing we've all talked about is how important it is to be consistent with our testing across America," Beasley told the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority during a March 21 meeting.

Beasley said split-sample tests wouldn't be done until technology and time factors related to testing could be resolved.

Test results showing a blood serum total carbon dioxide (TCO2) level of 37 millimoles/liter of plasma or higher will be considered to be in violation of the rules, according to the Keeneland policy.

The first horse in a trainer's care that tests above the TCO2 limit will be put on "earned surveillance" and placed in a detention barn 24 hours prior to a race. The trainer will be responsible for the cost of the additional security at a fee of $150 per day.

If a trainer has a second horse test above the TCO2 limit, he or she will not be allowed to enter a horse in a race at the meet for 10 days from the date he or she is notified of the test results.

A third offense will result in a trainer's expulsion from Keeneland for one year. The trainer will not be allowed to enter a horse in a race at the track for one year from the date the trainer is notified of test results.