Arkansas Alters Medication Policy

The Arkansas Racing Commission began testing for erythropoietin antibodies Sunday as part of a series of changes to the state's medication rules.

Arkansas joins a growing list of states that have added tests for EPO antibodies. In addition to EPO testing, the Arkansas commission also upgraded the anti-inflammatory dimethyl sulfoxide from a Class 5 to Class 4 medication.

The upgrade aims at intravenous injection of DMSO because topical application is not expected to exceed current threshold levels, said Bob Cohee, manager of the commission. DMSO is used to increase movement in arthritic joints.

Penalties were also set for trainers that administer milkshakes. Current testing can detect milkshakes through carbon dioxide levels in the blood.

A trainer is subject to a $1,000 fine with a first milkshaking offense; $1,500 for the second offense as well as a suspension of no more than six months; and $2,5000 and a suspension of up to one year for a third or further offense.