Drug Testing Task Force Moves Forward

A report from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Task Force on Drug Testing and Racing Integrity will be ready by August, but a comprehensive document may not be released until December.

Jim Gallagher, executive director of the task force, said Friday the group has reviewed about 700 samples thus far, and hopes to have 1,200 samples finished in a few months. Task force members -- six in person and four by teleconference -- met Wednesday in Lexington. The next meeting is scheduled for June.

Racing commissions in the United States will be asked to complete questionnaires designed to pinpoint the costs of testing, the depth of testing, and how horses are selected for testing.

"That information will give us a backdrop to better assess our findings," Gallagher said. "The data will be reviewed by analysts, and it's possible we could release a report by August. The big factor now is the number of samples we can get processed."

Gallagher said there will be a report of some sort made during The Jockey Club Round Table in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Aug. 19.

The task force uses "blind" samples that can't be traced to an individual or jurisdiction. The findings will be used to determine "best practices" in the industry and could perhaps lay the groundwork for uniform testing procedures.