Arizona Tightens Medication Rules

The Arizona Department of Racing approved a pilot program for equine "milkshake" testing and increased the number of ELISA tests to 25 from 15.

The Ohio State University Analytical Toxicology Laboratory will conduct the milkshake tests on an experimental basis for six months. Milkshakes are a sodium bicarbonate mixture administered to a horse's stomach through a tube. They are thought to increase performance and are screened by measuring a horse's carbon dioxide level.

The department increased the number of ELISA tests "to increase the likelihood of detecting new substances and those with low levels of certain substances," according to a department memo sent to the Arizona Racing Commission.

Additionally, the department increased the minimum number of horses to be tested each day from nine to 12. Random testing of erythropoietin (EPO) will also continue.

The department's medication committee will continue to research the use of snail and snake venom in racehorses in order for proper testing and enforcement to be prepared.