California Legislator Introduces Milkshake Bill

Assembly member Jerome E. Horton announced legislation Dec. 7 to combat illegal substances in California racehorses, in particular milkshakes.

The bill would require the California Horse Racing Board to adopt emergency regulations to establish policies, guidelines, and procedures to test the total carbon dioxide concentrations in the bloodstream of racehorses to determine whether an alkalizing substance was administered to improve a horse's performance in a race.

"Milkshakes" are mixtures of bicarbonate and/or other alkaline substances, fed to a horse shortly before it competes. The mixture is believed to delay the build up of lactic acid in a horse's muscles, allowing it to run farther before tiring. Because the excess carbon dioxide in a horse's bloodstream quickly dissipates, testing must be done immediately after a race.

"This legislation will allow the Board to draft emergency regulations that will exempt total carbon dioxide testing from the split sample requirement under current law and will establish a separate testing program for such substances," said Horton.

"Now more than ever, it is imperative that the California Horse Racing Industry continues to remain at the forefront of drug testing of racehorses. My bill will not only ensure a level playing field for the horsemen but will protect the integrity of this great sport and for the fans that support it."