When is a ‘milkshake’ not a milkshake?

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How does a horse get an elevated carbon dioxide level without being administered a “milkshake,” a procedure that involves tubing a mixture of baking soda, water, and possibly other substances into a horse’s stomach four to six hours before a race? That’s the question many people are asking in the wake of a California Horse Racing Board hearing officer’s report involving a TCO2 violation by Argenta, a filly from Doug O’Neill’s barn that finished eighth in a race at Del Mar in August 2010.

The hearing officer was convinced after conducting a seven-day hearing that Argenta was not “milkshaked” and that O’Neill himself had done nothing intentionally that would have elevated the TCO2 level of the filly, whose pre-race test came in at 39.4 millimoles per liter, well above the 37.0 legal cutoff level.


Nevertheless, because of the absolute insurer rule that holds the trainer responsible for any medication violations (and there seemed to be no disputing the fact Argenta tested above the limit), the hearing officer recommended O’Neill be suspended for 45 days and fined $15,000. An additional 135-day suspension was stayed for the next 18 months, provided O’Neill has no further Class 1, 2, or 3 medication violations. CHRB members concurred with the recommendation. The suspension will start no sooner than July 1, though O’Neill still has the right to appeal through the courts.

The ruling came in the midst of the highpoint of O’Neill’s career as a trainer, after victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes with I’ll Have Another. It will not affect his ability to participate in the upcoming Belmont Stakes on June 9.

This was the fourth time an O’Neill horse tested above the allowable TCO2 limits: one each in 2006 and 2008 in California and an Illinois violation in 2010, in addition to the 2010 Argenta case. I could find only one Thoroughbred trainer with as many as three TCO2 violations: Cole Norman, with two in Louisiana and one in California.

Milkshakes, or bicarbonate loading, is a procedure that began in Standardbred racing in the 1980s, then migrated to Thoroughbred tracks. Loading of bicarbonates neutralizes the buildup of lactic acid, which causes fatigue in the muscles. Its efficacy is believed to be highest after a minimum of 90 seconds of exercise, so the greatest effect in Thoroughbred racing is at distances of a mile or more.

Milkshakes are a prohibited practice on race day in all U.S. jurisdictions. Kentucky and Louisiana in the late 1990s were the last two states to ban the practice.

In California, TCO2 testing did not begin until 2004, when survey tests were conducted to gauge how widespread milkshaking had become. The results were quite shocking: of 82 horses tested during eight races at Del Mar, 19 of them, or nearly 25%, tested above the 37.0 threshold. (In Australia, TCO2 tests are considered positive if they are above 35.0.) Most horses normally test around 32.0-33.0.

Those initial high TCO2 tests in California were not prosecuted. Since then, the CHRB has only reported a handful of TCO2 violations, and three of them belong to O’Neill.

Why do O’Neill’s horses test above the permitted level more than anyone else?

A racetrack practitioner who spoke to the Paulick Report on the condition of anonymity said some trainers and veterinarians “push the envelope,” not by administering traditional bicarbonate loading through a gastro-nasal tube but by giving “bullets,” a paste-like mix of bicarbonates and electrolytes delivered via a dose gun in the back of a horse’s mouth four to five hours before a race. The concoction can contain an “energy mix” of amino acids, sugar or complex sugar.

The energy “bullet” elevates a horse’s TCO2 but, if done properly, keeps it below the 37.0 threshold level. The administration is a prohibited practice, since it is done on race day.

The veterinarian did not accuse O’Neill, his staff or veterinarians of this practice, only raising it as a possibility for why any barn might have multiple violations.

“There’s a fine line,” the veterinarian said. “You have to do your homework. Calculate how much lactic acid you are going to neutralize, what is the horse’s weight, what kind of race and distance.  The longer the race, the more molecules of lactic acid a horse will produce, the shorter the race, the less.”

Problems, or TCO2 violations, can occur when a horse metabolizes the alkalizing agents more slowly. “Every horse is different,” the veterinarian said. “Their muscle makeup, their activity level. There is no absolute formula that applies to every horse.”

Do some trainers simply add baking soda to a horse’s feedtub?

“It’s bitter tasting,” the veterinarian said. “Most horses will avoid it if you just add it to their feed. You can’t make a horse take in bicarbonates, so you hydrate it into a paste and squirt it into the back of their throat with what looks like a caulk gun.”

Knowing there is the potential for an over-the-limit test, I asked the veterinarian why trainers would allow this procedure for their horses?

“It’s a culture,” he said. “There is an old adage among cheaters: Push as close to the limit as you can without getting caught. Some of these trainers feel like it’s their job to do that.”

For his part, Doug O’Neill has said no one in his barn knowingly has done anything to elevate the TCO2 level of any of his horses. How Argenta tested well above the limit may forever remain a mystery.

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  • stillriledup

    A milkshake is always a milkshake as far as the bettors are concerned. Whether trainers knowingly or unknowingly send out horses with high levels in their systems, the end result is the race and final results can and often are, altered forever. Since bettors have  no recourse once the race goes ‘official’ a milkshake is always a milkshake to them.

     

  • stillriledup

    A milkshake is always a milkshake as far as the bettors are concerned. Whether trainers knowingly or unknowingly send out horses with high levels in their systems, the end result is the race and final results can and often are, altered forever. Since bettors have  no recourse once the race goes ‘official’ a milkshake is always a milkshake to them.

     

  • JC

    Uh-huh, a mystery. Thank you, Mr. Paulick, for being so mysterious. 

    Of course, horses have bigger mouths and throats but this sort of bullsh*t carries the same risk of doing it to, say, a human.  If you’re shooting stuff into the back of the throat, you’d better pray you’re shooting it into the right hole.  Bicarb/electrolyte paste in the trachea will not make for very good racing, if the poor horse doesn’t choke and even survives such a process. 

    These horses are bred to run; which, to me, is fine.  But they’re not bred to be abused and put up with this sort of nonsense.  YUCK  

    • ShelterDoc

      As a veterinarian myself, you really can’t “shoot” a paste down the wrong tube, even with the guns that are described.  A horses mouth is too long and where their throat begins is further back than most realize.  You are just placing something in kind of the back “cheek pouch” in the mouth for lack of a better term.  Granted…I don’t work on equines but am a shelter vet.  However, I do remember dosing horses with meds at vet school and you are just trying to get them to swallow it without it hitting the tongue and taste buds…

      • Dave

        can someone answer this, for me?  tc02 is not a banned substance, correct? in fact, do i understand correctly that tc02 is already present and naturally produced in a horse?  so, please explain to me the harm of a higher level of tc02.  and i mean harm to the animal.  to me, that is the only reason to monitor the level, is if higher levels cause some harm to the horse. so, does a level higher than the “allowed” level cause damage to a horse?

        • RayPaulick

           TCO2 is not the substance, but elevated TCO2 is a  byproduct of bicarbonate loading. The procedure is illegal because it is done on raceday and it is by almost all accounts a performance-enhancing substance. Some veterinarians believe bicarbonate loading is helpful to a horse’s health, particularly in recovering from the stress of a race.

        • Pjleft

          Dave; I’vre always wondered the same thing myself about milkshakes. If it is just baking sida and water, is there any harm to the horse? Perhaps it let’s a horse run through pain, it could result in harm…but if it just reduces the discomfort associated with exercise how is it different from vitamins? Next time I go for a run, I think I just make myself a milkshake. (Although you can buy all sorts of pre and post workout stuff that are all probably illegal for horses.)

          • http://www.facebook.com/Aggadancool Danny Gonzalez

            Its not harmful  IT CAN KILL THEM  ESPECIIALLY ONE THAT TYES UP REAL EASY  LOOK OUT IF YOUR ON TOP OF ONE OF THEM AND IT HAS BEEN SHAKED  THE HORSE WILL LOCK UP AND DIE . PROBABLY EXPLAINS WHY ONEIL HAD SO MANY HORSES GOING DOWN.

        • Larry Ensor

          Simply put Lactic acid is produced at any level of muscle exertion. As the muscles are asked for more the more lactic acid is produced. It is the bodies way of warning itself that it’s muscles are working at or near their maximum capacity and begin to “shut” down so as not to cause injury to itself. Conditioning will delay this response be it a human or a horse. The fitter and stronger a human or horse is the longer they will be able to exert themselves before fatigue sets in. Every human and horse is different and no matter how much they train each will have their own maximum “level” at which point it can no longer stave off lactic acid build up fatigue. No matter how much harder they train and condition. Milkshaking “fools” the bodies nature defense from catastrophic muscle failure. Obviously this is not only dangerous to the horse but the rider and others in the race should the horse go down.
          Feel free to correct or add to my simple explanation.

          • Pjleft

            Larry;

            Nice job, understand it a little better now.

          • JC

             Personally I don’t like the idea of manipulating an already delicate acid-base balance to improperly enhance performance.  And I feel this is different from using Lasix to prevent EIPH, which can be fatal.  I also realize that there is a dedicated school of thought that believes that any “bleeder” horses shouldn’t race at all.  To be honest, I don’t know enough about the use of lasix to take one side or the other.  In the past I have thought “what’s the big deal” if the lasix helps and has minimal side effects…but, I also understand the “no bleeders racing” position, too. 

            I’ve never done it, and don’t want to, but I can imagine how I would have felt as an athlete if, to enhance my performance, I overdosed on Alka-Seltzer or baking soda in order to prevent lactic acid buildup.  It’s up for grabs whether or not that would work in a human, but I can’t imagine that wouldn’t make me feel like total crap.  I don’t like it for horses, either–milkshakes, “bullets” or whatever. 

        • Larry Ensor

          Total CO2, TCO2 or Total Carbon Dioxide is a blood gas and is defined as the sum of the carbonic acid and the bicarbonate. Which has an effect on Blood PH. Bicarbonate serves a crucial biochemical role in the physiological pH buffering system. I tried to give a simple explanation of my understanding of the buffering system in my post above. TCO2 is a unit of measurement, the average horse will have a TCO2 of XXX.
          Given LA has a pretty “exotic” form of air pollution I wonder if this would have an effect on a horse’s TCO2 base level compared to say horses that train at the Fair Hill Training center in the country? What about horses that train and race in the Denver area. More then 6,000 feet above sea level?
          IMO Milkshaking or manipulating a horse’s nature biochemical system is done strictly to enhance performance. IMO the same can and should be said of Lasix. But at least MS is done with “natural” ingredients. Perhaps people would not take exception if it was listed in the program medication line as , L, MS

          • Tinky

            “Given LA has a pretty “exotic” form of air pollution I wonder if this would have an effect on a horse’s TCO2 base level compared to say horses that train at the Fair Hill Training center in the country?”

            C’mon, Larry. If that were the case, then there would be many false positives, and they would be distributed roughly evenly throughout the horse (and trainer) populations. 

          • Larry Ensor

            Tinky, my question was asking if unnatural environmental conditions would have any effect on the TCO2 base line that is used at every race track. Is the base line written in stone based on numerous testing at various race track and or conditions. Or just a theoretical number? I was not suggesting that a “mysterious overage” should be taken lightly or dismissed. Just fair and balanced testing. I have a basic understanding of the science. Which tells me that perhaps pH buffering could be manipulated via a feed program. If so would this be illegal? As a life long mountain, rock, ice climber along with being a high end skier I learned long ago that combining certain types of food and amounts of each make quite a difference in my performance. On high altitude climbs we carried a pretty potent prescription injectable to temporarily over come high attitude sickness. Would surprise me if it has been used in horses.

          • Larry Ensor

            Should read, WOULDN’T suprise me if it has been used in horses

          • Tinky

            I understood the thrust of your point, Larry, but it still doesn’t hold water.

            If the baseline in CA were too high, then there would be regular false positives, and they would be spread rather evenly around the trainer population.

            That obviously hasn’t happened, so how could the baseline be too high?

          • Larry Ensor

            Tinky, thanks but I was not trying to make a point but rather pose a question. There seems to be several Vets on this tread that I would like to think have a better understanding of the “science” then I.

          • SteveG

            How about an “SM” in the program denoting horse has trained in “SM”og.

            From what I’ve been able to gather, horses in a commercial environment have standing levels of TCO2 from about 27/28mmol/l to 32/33mmol/l.

            There would have to be some hellacious air in order for it to bump up levels to the extent a horse would test positive irrespective of other factors. (cough, hack, wheeze)   :-)
             

      • JC

         Sure, but the point is you’d better get that “caulk gun” into the cheek pocket or your “paste” might end up in the wrong place.  Based on what some of the bloggers said over on the nasal strips thread, there can be a good bit of stuff put into a horse’s mouth with the intention of getting it down its throat.  And I’d bet there’s some element of “shooting” as you say because you don’t want the horse to taste it and “protest”. 

        When it’s people, the meds that can be crushed or come in a pasty or liquid form are often put into food.  But on that score, I’d guess horses are not as malleable.  “That tastes way different; I ain’t eatin’ that!!” 

        • TBDancer

          I have an OTTB who is now 18 years old. He was retired from racing in 1998. I cannot walk into his paddock with anything in my hands without his going into “full alert mode.” I cannot paste worm him without most of the paste going everywhere but where it SHOULD go. And though he is mostly a puppy dog to handle, when it comes to that sort of thing, he’s impossible.

          • JC

             Yeah, “impossible”–most likely from bad experience.  Please give your OTTB a great big hug from me.  I like giving horses love at any opportunity… :-) 

    • Sanmo65

       Um…horses don’t breath through their mouths, so no chance of getting anything into the lungs. It’s when tubing is done intranasaly, the TUBE itself can get placed wrong place.

      • JC

         I know that horses are nose breathers.  I was speaking of the equivalent, as the vet said above, of putting the “caulk-gun”-type-thing in their mouths. 

  • JC

    Uh-huh, a mystery. Thank you, Mr. Paulick, for being so mysterious. 

    Of course, horses have bigger mouths and throats but this sort of bullsh*t carries the same risk of doing it to, say, a human.  If you’re shooting stuff into the back of the throat, you’d better pray you’re shooting it into the right hole.  Bicarb/electrolyte paste in the trachea will not make for very good racing, if the poor horse doesn’t choke and even survives such a process. 

    These horses are bred to run; which, to me, is fine.  But they’re not bred to be abused and put up with this sort of nonsense.  YUCK  

  • Wbindner

    Probably all 4 positives were accidents

  • Wbindner

    Probably all 4 positives were accidents

  • ShelterDoc

    As a veterinarian myself, you really can’t “shoot” a paste down the wrong tube, even with the guns that are described.  A horses mouth is too long and where their throat begins is further back than most realize.  You are just placing something in kind of the back “cheek pouch” in the mouth for lack of a better term.  Granted…I don’t work on equines but am a shelter vet.  However, I do remember dosing horses with meds at vet school and you are just trying to get them to swallow it without it hitting the tongue and taste buds…

  • Laurie

    A poor reaction to Lasix can also cause an elevated TCO2 level.

    • Trainerbowie

      Laurie how do you know this?

      • http://www.facebook.com/Aggadancool Danny Gonzalez

        In one and a million horses use of a  lasix or a diuretic can cause elevated levels.  She is absolutely right. I have seen it 6 times in 26 years  

  • Laurie

    A poor reaction to Lasix can also cause an elevated TCO2 level.

  • ShelterDoc

    Is it not possible maybe, just maybe to focus on the potential greatness of the Horse in all of this and not the trainer all the time?  Its really getting to the point of insanity and I do fault the CHRB for the timing of this, as they only did it now because they knew that it would get so much more press (and being the politicians they all are can try and spin everything to influence a public that is obviously addicted to bad news and the “we will get the bad guys” mentality).  It just amazes me how in every story nowadays there has to be a negative angle that people latch onto more than the potential wonderful story that this could be.  It is sickening and repulsive in some ways.  I understand that things need to be reported, but it just tarnishes everything in racing we love.  Has IHA ever been found to be postive for any performance enhancing substance??  No!!!  Has he had himself altered in any way to make him run better?? No!!  So unless all this bad press concerns THIS HORSE!!!  Can’t we all just give a rest for a while.  You never see this level of negativity in any other sport.  Michael Vick was found to be running a dog fighting operation and basically admitted to brutally murdering dogs (I’m a shelter vet who deals with pits every day…so believe me when I say this hits a nerve with me).  It created a huge uproar, but if the Eagles were to be going for the Super Bowl…would that aspect of him be front page news?  No.  Even if he were to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl ring…I can pretty much Garuntee the NY Times would not have as their headline “Dog Killer Vick Leads Eagles to Super Bowl Glory”.  Yet watch IHA win the Belmont and I am sure somewhere in the Times and other publications there will be a headline “IHA wins Triple Crown for questionable trainer”.  Or  “IHA to be tested for any milksakes after Triple Corwn Score”  Pro Baseball players dope themselves all up and no one cares (Congress claims to…but only when it is politically beneficial for them to).  The argument is that they are making that choice for themselves whereas horses don’t get to make that choice.  I agree with that to a point.  However, I would argue the athletes don’t have a choice.  Since they want to be able to compete at that level…they have to dope…otherwise they can’t make it.  So it really is no difference.  There is no outcry with the way gymnasts (especially the young girls) are prepared for the Olympics.  No outcry over that and I would argue that is the same as a thoroughbred.  They technically have no say in it.  Is it even remotely possible in this world that the horse may just be that good??  I know I am probably breaking some law of particel physics or deductive reasoning by asking that…but maybe we should start looking at that now and having that debate.  Not one that always focuses on chemistry and how it would be impossible for a horse to win the Triple Crown without being doped in some way. 

    • Ed Fountaine

      Much of what you say sounds worth reading, but It would be much easier to understand this if you broke it into paragraphs.

      • ShelterDoc

        Sorry Ed,  I was on a rant roll and forgot to proofread myself.  Will try to do better in the next post

      • Barry Irwin

        Ed, you old fart!

        Copy it, cut and paste it into a document, increase the front size and it read it anew.

    • The Abiding Dude

      The difference is that Vick owned his situation. He was remorseful, repented, did his time like a man and did and said all of the right things to get back into the league. Have the O’Neills owned this situation (or any other trainer, for that matter)? Until a trainer that knowingly uses banned substances comes forward after a positive and says “Sorry, my fault. I will never do it again.” instead of fighting it to the bitter (and mostly futile) end, this sport and form of gambling will be viewed through the lens that you so despise. If IHA takes the TC, he will be subject to the same type of asterisk debates that baseball players of the steroid era face when they break records not as hallowed as the TC. In case you can’t tell, I think that DON put himself in thisw position, and the only way out is to own the situation, not to feign ignorance of his violations and brag about how much money they have spent fighting this (because if you spend money on your defense it shows how guilty you think you aren’t? I know it worked for OJ, but come on). Owning the situation is the only thing that will get him a second chance in the court of public opinion, just like it did with Vick. 

      • ShelterDoc

        There are many in the field who feel Vick is not truly remorseful and only saying what he is being told to say by PR people.  I am not sure if he is ever been truly remorseful because he only spoke about his time in prison and getting caught…not about the things he did for the dogs or if he felt sorry for the dogs.
             Also, Im pretty sure in the piece NBC did on Preakness day Oneil did admit he may have placed horses where they shouldnt have been, but he has learned from it.  As far as the positives and milkshaking and all that…no one will ever know the truth.  Working on a lot of animal cruelty prosecutions like I do, the burden of proof is on the prosecution, not the defense, so if the prosecution cannot even prove that a horse was milkshaked or bicarb loaded or whatever you want to call it, why would you not defend yourself to the end if you did not truly do it.  Only Oneil knows what he did or didn’t do.
             Considering the screwed up way that violations are handled in the racing industry, the amount he is spending on legal fees and defense is not to me all that unusual.  Remember he is not just paying for a lawyer and his time.  If you are bringing in your own experts or having your own research and testing done to try and prove your innocence, that all cot money, and is not cheap.  So I am sure a lot of his defense fees are going towards that as well. If after the hearing process he then has to appeal it in the court system, all those fees for experts and the like have to be charged again.  I know from when I testified as a veterinary expert in cases, I charged for the time I was invovled in the case or time spent in the courtroom.  Even if I only testified for 15 minutes, if I had to be there for 5 hours, then the client gets billed for 5 hours.  I usually am more lenient on that than most since I do it for the prosecution, and as a shelter vet it is part of my job, but I do know other vets that charge at that rate, even if the case is settled and they never have to testify. 

    • 66puppies

      I thought the Mike Vick thing blew up before he even went to the Eagles?? Wasnt he w/ Atlanta then? (Sorry, O/T, but relevant to your post).

      • ShelterDoc

        You are right, I was using the Vick thing as more of an angle of looking at a persons past and using it to tarnish present accomplishments.  Sorry if that was confusing.  It was more of a rant agains the NY Times than anything else.

    • Dc

      Right on Shelter Doc Right on, the witch hunt needs to stop and the focus needs to be on what I’ll have Another is and hopefully accomplishes.

    • free reign

      The fact that no high percentage claiming trainer, or their vet, attended the hearing in Kennett Square, reveals that the subculture is not interested in, or ready to expose the harsh realities. So many trainers are excellent horsemen, sans shocking, blocking, pig hormones, milkshaking, clenbuterol, epo, even O2 chamber, etc…
      The racing authorities must perform their duty in protecting the horse, bettors and industry image.
      The fact that ONeill has been blessed with such an extraordinary individual is what irks competing owners and trainers, even more that the possiblity that somehow, without anyone(at this moment) in Doug’s barn, he, or anyone “he” instructed to “increase TCO2 level”(not simply instruct to, or let dose/inject/milkshake to ‘win’ or counter tie-up.)
      Everyone knows that the horse could be that good. That debate is irrelevant.
      How a trainer can continue running against other owners and treat horses without facing punishment is the focus. I could name a number of claiming trainers that can out train many others, even without the drugs. They can’t risk their position by coming out against the issue. THOSE IN POSITION OF AUTHORITY must perform their duty.

    • Aziggas

      I wish they had asked the vet. they were interviewing to elaborate on the potential other causes of acid-base imbalances because there are many. They act like only a milkshake can alter the balance but there are many other natural causes too. Hey how about that “I’ll Have Another” and his side-kick “Lava Man”? I love them!

  • ShelterDoc

    Is it not possible maybe, just maybe to focus on the potential greatness of the Horse in all of this and not the trainer all the time?  Its really getting to the point of insanity and I do fault the CHRB for the timing of this, as they only did it now because they knew that it would get so much more press (and being the politicians they all are can try and spin everything to influence a public that is obviously addicted to bad news and the “we will get the bad guys” mentality).  It just amazes me how in every story nowadays there has to be a negative angle that people latch onto more than the potential wonderful story that this could be.  It is sickening and repulsive in some ways.  I understand that things need to be reported, but it just tarnishes everything in racing we love.  Has IHA ever been found to be postive for any performance enhancing substance??  No!!!  Has he had himself altered in any way to make him run better?? No!!  So unless all this bad press concerns THIS HORSE!!!  Can’t we all just give a rest for a while.  You never see this level of negativity in any other sport.  Michael Vick was found to be running a dog fighting operation and basically admitted to brutally murdering dogs (I’m a shelter vet who deals with pits every day…so believe me when I say this hits a nerve with me).  It created a huge uproar, but if the Eagles were to be going for the Super Bowl…would that aspect of him be front page news?  No.  Even if he were to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl ring…I can pretty much Garuntee the NY Times would not have as their headline “Dog Killer Vick Leads Eagles to Super Bowl Glory”.  Yet watch IHA win the Belmont and I am sure somewhere in the Times and other publications there will be a headline “IHA wins Triple Crown for questionable trainer”.  Or  “IHA to be tested for any milksakes after Triple Corwn Score”  Pro Baseball players dope themselves all up and no one cares (Congress claims to…but only when it is politically beneficial for them to).  The argument is that they are making that choice for themselves whereas horses don’t get to make that choice.  I agree with that to a point.  However, I would argue the athletes don’t have a choice.  Since they want to be able to compete at that level…they have to dope…otherwise they can’t make it.  So it really is no difference.  There is no outcry with the way gymnasts (especially the young girls) are prepared for the Olympics.  No outcry over that and I would argue that is the same as a thoroughbred.  They technically have no say in it.  Is it even remotely possible in this world that the horse may just be that good??  I know I am probably breaking some law of particel physics or deductive reasoning by asking that…but maybe we should start looking at that now and having that debate.  Not one that always focuses on chemistry and how it would be impossible for a horse to win the Triple Crown without being doped in some way. 

  • Big Red

    geeeez, after being called every name in the book on this site, someone with an eduaction higher than first grade spells out what is really happening in our world.
    I have said it over and over again, I’ve been told by NUMEROUS trainers that the reason they don’t get caught is because they simply “know how much to give” reagrdless of what pre-race meds they use legal or not.
    In this case, D.O. got caught regardless what his buddy in the Racing Comm. said. 
    Ugggggh !

  • Big Red

    geeeez, after being called every name in the book on this site, someone with an eduaction higher than first grade spells out what is really happening in our world.
    I have said it over and over again, I’ve been told by NUMEROUS trainers that the reason they don’t get caught is because they simply “know how much to give” reagrdless of what pre-race meds they use legal or not.
    In this case, D.O. got caught regardless what his buddy in the Racing Comm. said. 
    Ugggggh !

  • Dave

    can someone answer this, for me?  tc02 is not a banned substance, correct? in fact, do i understand correctly that tc02 is already present and naturally produced in a horse?  so, please explain to me the harm of a higher level of tc02.  and i mean harm to the animal.  to me, that is the only reason to monitor the level, is if higher levels cause some harm to the horse. so, does a level higher than the “allowed” level cause damage to a horse?

  • RayPaulick

     TCO2 is not the substance, but elevated TCO2 is a  byproduct of bicarbonate loading. The procedure is illegal because it is done on raceday and it is by almost all accounts a performance-enhancing substance. Some veterinarians believe bicarbonate loading is helpful to a horse’s health, particularly in recovering from the stress of a race.

  • Pjleft

    Dave; I’vre always wondered the same thing myself about milkshakes. If it is just baking sida and water, is there any harm to the horse? Perhaps it let’s a horse run through pain, it could result in harm…but if it just reduces the discomfort associated with exercise how is it different from vitamins? Next time I go for a run, I think I just make myself a milkshake. (Although you can buy all sorts of pre and post workout stuff that are all probably illegal for horses.)

  • Trainerbowie

    Laurie how do you know this?

  • Larry Ensor

    Simply put Lactic acid is produced at any level of muscle exertion. As the muscles are asked for more the more lactic acid is produced. It is the bodies way of warning itself that it’s muscles are working at or near their maximum capacity and begin to “shut” down so as not to cause injury to itself. Conditioning will delay this response be it a human or a horse. The fitter and stronger a human or horse is the longer they will be able to exert themselves before fatigue sets in. Every human and horse is different and no matter how much they train each will have their own maximum “level” at which point it can no longer stave off lactic acid build up fatigue. No matter how much harder they train and condition. Milkshaking “fools” the bodies nature defense from catastrophic muscle failure. Obviously this is not only dangerous to the horse but the rider and others in the race should the horse go down.
    Feel free to correct or add to my simple explanation.

  • Pjleft

    Larry;

    Nice job, understand it a little better now.

  • Larry Ensor

    Total CO2, TCO2 or Total Carbon Dioxide is a blood gas and is defined as the sum of the carbonic acid and the bicarbonate. Which has an effect on Blood PH. Bicarbonate serves a crucial biochemical role in the physiological pH buffering system. I tried to give a simple explanation of my understanding of the buffering system in my post above. TCO2 is a unit of measurement, the average horse will have a TCO2 of XXX.
    Given LA has a pretty “exotic” form of air pollution I wonder if this would have an effect on a horse’s TCO2 base level compared to say horses that train at the Fair Hill Training center in the country? What about horses that train and race in the Denver area. More then 6,000 feet above sea level?
    IMO Milkshaking or manipulating a horse’s nature biochemical system is done strictly to enhance performance. IMO the same can and should be said of Lasix. But at least MS is done with “natural” ingredients. Perhaps people would not take exception if it was listed in the program medication line as , L, MS

  • Tinky

    “Given LA has a pretty “exotic” form of air pollution I wonder if this would have an effect on a horse’s TCO2 base level compared to say horses that train at the Fair Hill Training center in the country?”

    C’mon, Larry. If that were the case, then there would be many false positives, and they would be distributed roughly evenly throughout the horse (and trainer) populations. 

  • JC

     Sure, but the point is you’d better get that “caulk gun” into the cheek pocket or your “paste” might end up in the wrong place.  Based on what some of the bloggers said over on the nasal strips thread, there can be a good bit of stuff put into a horse’s mouth with the intention of getting it down its throat.  And I’d bet there’s some element of “shooting” as you say because you don’t want the horse to taste it and “protest”. 

    When it’s people, the meds that can be crushed or come in a pasty or liquid form are often put into food.  But on that score, I’d guess horses are not as malleable.  “That tastes way different; I ain’t eatin’ that!!” 

  • JC

     Personally I don’t like the idea of manipulating an already delicate acid-base balance to improperly enhance performance.  And I feel this is different from using Lasix to prevent EIPH, which can be fatal.  I also realize that there is a dedicated school of thought that believes that any “bleeder” horses shouldn’t race at all.  To be honest, I don’t know enough about the use of lasix to take one side or the other.  In the past I have thought “what’s the big deal” if the lasix helps and has minimal side effects…but, I also understand the “no bleeders racing” position, too. 

    I’ve never done it, and don’t want to, but I can imagine how I would have felt as an athlete if, to enhance my performance, I overdosed on Alka-Seltzer or baking soda in order to prevent lactic acid buildup.  It’s up for grabs whether or not that would work in a human, but I can’t imagine that wouldn’t make me feel like total crap.  I don’t like it for horses, either–milkshakes, “bullets” or whatever. 

  • SteveG

    How about an “SM” in the program denoting horse has trained in “SM”og.

    From what I’ve been able to gather, horses in a commercial environment have standing levels of TCO2 from about 27/28mmol/l to 32/33mmol/l.

    There would have to be some hellacious air in order for it to bump up levels to the extent a horse would test positive irrespective of other factors. (cough, hack, wheeze)   :-)
     

  • http://www.facebook.com/Aggadancool Danny Gonzalez

    In one and a million horses use of a  lasix or a diuretic can cause elevated levels.  She is absolutely right. I have seen it 6 times in 26 years  

  • http://www.facebook.com/Aggadancool Danny Gonzalez

    I have used baking soda in a feed tub especially with an older horse that  has obvious  for lack of a better word  farts like a hurricane.  a teaspoon at the most helps them  stop    blowing away  the people near them. Its an old trick. But if you use it with lasix  you can test positive cause it concentrates it in the blood stream to make it show up on a test.  

    • JC

       Yes–horses are a different mammal from us but I can see how this is a delicate balance.  Imagine how you feel as a human–for something like dyspepsia, taking the right dose of Alka-Seltzer can help you and make you feel better.  But, OD on the Alka-Seltzer and then see how you feel.  And it’s easy to see how that can cause a ton of pressure in the chest cavity.  Not good… 

  • http://www.facebook.com/Aggadancool Danny Gonzalez

    I have used baking soda in a feed tub especially with an older horse that  has obvious  for lack of a better word  farts like a hurricane.  a teaspoon at the most helps them  stop    blowing away  the people near them. Its an old trick. But if you use it with lasix  you can test positive cause it concentrates it in the blood stream to make it show up on a test.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/Aggadancool Danny Gonzalez

    Its not harmful  IT CAN KILL THEM  ESPECIIALLY ONE THAT TYES UP REAL EASY  LOOK OUT IF YOUR ON TOP OF ONE OF THEM AND IT HAS BEEN SHAKED  THE HORSE WILL LOCK UP AND DIE . PROBABLY EXPLAINS WHY ONEIL HAD SO MANY HORSES GOING DOWN.

  • Ed Fountaine

    Much of what you say sounds worth reading, but It would be much easier to understand this if you broke it into paragraphs.

  • http://twitter.com/BigSkyEquine SaratogaSid

    Here is how: http://therail.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/25/alkalinization-lasix-and-milkshaking-a-veterinarians-view/

    • Barry Irwin

      Well worth reading.

  • http://twitter.com/BigSkyEquine SaratogaSid
  • roger

    Thanks Ray…..so the horse wasn’t milkshaked but did Doug’s vet use the “bullet”? Doug has a slew of horses and this one comes back at elevated levels finishing 8th at 20-1 odds.I wish Doug would offer his explanation because from what I’ve read here….39 level is fairly high so it would seem something was ingested.
     
    Stats….wonder what the horse population was on the backstretch at Santa Anita in 1965 and the ratio number of horses vs vets……..what was the ratio in 2011….we know there was a significant decline of horses at Santa Anita in the last 45 years but just how many vets are roaming around the backstretch these days? 

  • roger

    Thanks Ray…..so the horse wasn’t milkshaked but did Doug’s vet use the “bullet”? Doug has a slew of horses and this one comes back at elevated levels finishing 8th at 20-1 odds.I wish Doug would offer his explanation because from what I’ve read here….39 level is fairly high so it would seem something was ingested.
     
    Stats….wonder what the horse population was on the backstretch at Santa Anita in 1965 and the ratio number of horses vs vets……..what was the ratio in 2011….we know there was a significant decline of horses at Santa Anita in the last 45 years but just how many vets are roaming around the backstretch these days? 

  • Rachel

    From Oddsonracing.com:

    “When milkshaking goes wrong, it goes very wrong. The most obvious problem occurs when a horse drowns from the incorrect insertion of a tube. As well, some horse’s systems are just not able to hand the bicarbonate overload on their systems. Pound for pound, horses have more body cavity pressure on their hearts than any other animal. If the horse’s system cannot handle the bicarbonate overload, it puts a great deal of stress on the heart and cardiovascular system, with often-disastrous results. “The year before we started testing, in 1990, we had two horses drop dead in a race (the same race) at Maywood Park from apparent heart attacks,” Doc recalled. “The state did an autopsy on both horses and found their stomachs to be full of baking soda.”

    • JC

       Oh, beautiful(dripping sarcasm here).  Basically, bicarb-induced cardiac tamponade.  Anyone who’s done this should be ashamed of themselves.  But, that’s the problem with today’s lowlifes–”no guilt, no shame, and as long as I don’t get caught, I won’t stop doing it–and even then I might not stop doing it”.  It makes me sick. 

      Rachel, so disturbing but thank you for that info. 

      Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if all this bicarb also caused them to colic. 

  • Rachel

    From Oddsonracing.com:

    “When milkshaking goes wrong, it goes very wrong. The most obvious problem occurs when a horse drowns from the incorrect insertion of a tube. As well, some horse’s systems are just not able to hand the bicarbonate overload on their systems. Pound for pound, horses have more body cavity pressure on their hearts than any other animal. If the horse’s system cannot handle the bicarbonate overload, it puts a great deal of stress on the heart and cardiovascular system, with often-disastrous results. “The year before we started testing, in 1990, we had two horses drop dead in a race (the same race) at Maywood Park from apparent heart attacks,” Doc recalled. “The state did an autopsy on both horses and found their stomachs to be full of baking soda.”

  • Tom Goncharoff

    Blaming the messenger, in this case the PR or the CHRB, is missing the point.  The fact is, he had an elevated TC02 level in a horse.

    Ironically, he never had a bad test when his horses were relegated to the detention barn as I recall.

  • Tom Goncharoff

    Blaming the messenger, in this case the PR or the CHRB, is missing the point.  The fact is, he had an elevated TC02 level in a horse.

    Ironically, he never had a bad test when his horses were relegated to the detention barn as I recall.

  • ttowntony

    After reading this crap, it just proves to me that guys like Doug O’Neill, who say they care for their horses, in reality…they dont!

    • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

      go tell him that to his FACE…

  • ttowntony

    After reading this crap, it just proves to me that guys like Doug O’Neill, who say they care for their horses, in reality…they dont!

  • Okeydokey

    performance enhancers….well, dosen’t galloping dally, feeding the right feed, floating   teeth, vitamins, shoeing, aren’t they all perfomance enhanceing?  Breeding the right bloodlines….If drugs made that much difference, not the proper care or breeding, you would have more positive tests..testing…why aren’t all athletics tested before and after a sport. Race horses are, and everyone that comes in contact with them have to have a lisence and are subject to a drug test whenever someone says pee in a cup…i
    Horse racing is the most restricked sport going.

    • Tinky

      Actually, everything that you stated above is incorrect. That’s quite an accomplishment.

    • Charlie Davis

      Unbelievably wrong about everything.  Go read a book and then come back.  

    • howard zucker

      Not “resticked” to people who can spell.

  • Okeydokey

    performance enhancers….well, dosen’t galloping dally, feeding the right feed, floating   teeth, vitamins, shoeing, aren’t they all perfomance enhanceing?  Breeding the right bloodlines….If drugs made that much difference, not the proper care or breeding, you would have more positive tests..testing…why aren’t all athletics tested before and after a sport. Race horses are, and everyone that comes in contact with them have to have a lisence and are subject to a drug test whenever someone says pee in a cup…i
    Horse racing is the most restricked sport going.

  • Tinky

    Actually, everything that you stated above is incorrect. That’s quite an accomplishment.

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    go tell him that to his FACE…

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    a couple of old timers n Maryland told me they use to mix MARIJUANA (HEMP/HERB) in their hay to HELP  keep them from BLEEDING…& IT WORKED!!!…

    • JC

      I think you’re getting that confused with poison ivy. Never hear of the hemp thing.

      • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

        well U have NOW!!!…MELLO’S THEM OUT!!!…

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    a couple of old timers n Maryland told me they use to mix MARIJUANA (HEMP/HERB) in their hay to HELP  keep them from BLEEDING…& IT WORKED!!!…

  • TBDancer

    I have an OTTB who is now 18 years old. He was retired from racing in 1998. I cannot walk into his paddock with anything in my hands without his going into “full alert mode.” I cannot paste worm him without most of the paste going everywhere but where it SHOULD go. And though he is mostly a puppy dog to handle, when it comes to that sort of thing, he’s impossible.

  • Sanmo65

     Um…horses don’t breath through their mouths, so no chance of getting anything into the lungs. It’s when tubing is done intranasaly, the TUBE itself can get placed wrong place.

  • Larry Ensor

    Tinky, my question was asking if unnatural environmental conditions would have any effect on the TCO2 base line that is used at every race track. Is the base line written in stone based on numerous testing at various race track and or conditions. Or just a theoretical number? I was not suggesting that a “mysterious overage” should be taken lightly or dismissed. Just fair and balanced testing. I have a basic understanding of the science. Which tells me that perhaps pH buffering could be manipulated via a feed program. If so would this be illegal? As a life long mountain, rock, ice climber along with being a high end skier I learned long ago that combining certain types of food and amounts of each make quite a difference in my performance. On high altitude climbs we carried a pretty potent prescription injectable to temporarily over come high attitude sickness. Would surprise me if it has been used in horses.

  • Larry Ensor

    Should read, WOULDN’T suprise me if it has been used in horses

  • The Abiding Dude

    The difference is that Vick owned his situation. He was remorseful, repented, did his time like a man and did and said all of the right things to get back into the league. Have the O’Neills owned this situation (or any other trainer, for that matter)? Until a trainer that knowingly uses banned substances comes forward after a positive and says “Sorry, my fault. I will never do it again.” instead of fighting it to the bitter (and mostly futile) end, this sport and form of gambling will be viewed through the lens that you so despise. If IHA takes the TC, he will be subject to the same type of asterisk debates that baseball players of the steroid era face when they break records not as hallowed as the TC. In case you can’t tell, I think that DON put himself in thisw position, and the only way out is to own the situation, not to feign ignorance of his violations and brag about how much money they have spent fighting this (because if you spend money on your defense it shows how guilty you think you aren’t? I know it worked for OJ, but come on). Owning the situation is the only thing that will get him a second chance in the court of public opinion, just like it did with Vick. 

  • 66puppies

    I thought the Mike Vick thing blew up before he even went to the Eagles?? Wasnt he w/ Atlanta then? (Sorry, O/T, but relevant to your post).

  • Clem Clemson

    Finally!  An explanation that makes sense and that I find credible.  Thanks Ray for writing this article.  It makes perfect sense to me now. Milkshaking seems archaic.  I can’t see modern day trainers sticking a tube down a horses nose.  But its easy for me to see them pasting with a bullet.  I paste my stable horses all the time with Bute, Strongid, etc and it takes only 2 seconds. Back pocket to horses mouth to back pocket can be done in less time that it takes to walk out of a stall. Now I get it. You can formulate almost anything in a paste bullet including SARMS – designer drugs.

  • Clem Clemson

    Finally!  An explanation that makes sense and that I find credible.  Thanks Ray for writing this article.  It makes perfect sense to me now. Milkshaking seems archaic.  I can’t see modern day trainers sticking a tube down a horses nose.  But its easy for me to see them pasting with a bullet.  I paste my stable horses all the time with Bute, Strongid, etc and it takes only 2 seconds. Back pocket to horses mouth to back pocket can be done in less time that it takes to walk out of a stall. Now I get it. You can formulate almost anything in a paste bullet including SARMS – designer drugs.

  • JC

     Oh, beautiful(dripping sarcasm here).  Basically, bicarb-induced cardiac tamponade.  Anyone who’s done this should be ashamed of themselves.  But, that’s the problem with today’s lowlifes–”no guilt, no shame, and as long as I don’t get caught, I won’t stop doing it–and even then I might not stop doing it”.  It makes me sick. 

    Rachel, so disturbing but thank you for that info. 

    Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if all this bicarb also caused them to colic. 

  • JC

     Yes–horses are a different mammal from us but I can see how this is a delicate balance.  Imagine how you feel as a human–for something like dyspepsia, taking the right dose of Alka-Seltzer can help you and make you feel better.  But, OD on the Alka-Seltzer and then see how you feel.  And it’s easy to see how that can cause a ton of pressure in the chest cavity.  Not good… 

  • JC

     I know that horses are nose breathers.  I was speaking of the equivalent, as the vet said above, of putting the “caulk-gun”-type-thing in their mouths. 

  • SteveG

    “There’s a fine line,” the veterinarian said. “You have to do your homework. Calculate how much lactic acid you are going to neutralize, what is the horse’s weight, what kind of race and distance. The longer the race, the more molecules of lactic acid a horse will produce, the shorter the race, the less.”

    Very telling words.  God forbid those who engage in such calculations divert that craftiness into actually training their horses iinstead of taking an edge & sweating the consequences.

    • JC

       Yeah, no kidding. 

  • SteveG

    “There’s a fine line,” the veterinarian said. “You have to do your homework. Calculate how much lactic acid you are going to neutralize, what is the horse’s weight, what kind of race and distance. The longer the race, the more molecules of lactic acid a horse will produce, the shorter the race, the less.”

    Very telling words.  God forbid those who engage in such calculations divert that craftiness into actually training their horses iinstead of taking an edge & sweating the consequences.

  • JC

     Yeah, “impossible”–most likely from bad experience.  Please give your OTTB a great big hug from me.  I like giving horses love at any opportunity… :-) 

  • Jordanlay

    Does anyone know if cobalt loading raises tco2 levels?

    • Don Reed

      This can be ascertained using your kitchen convection oven.  Make sure your cats are out in the backyard before commencing the experiment.

      • Jordanlay

        Not sure what you’re trying to say. Google cobalt hypoxia conditioning.

        • Don Reed

          Jordan, it’s black humor.  Stop being a literal-minded “all work and no play” racetracker.  They’re a dime-a-dozen.

  • Charlie Davis

    Unbelievably wrong about everything.  Go read a book and then come back.  

  • Jordanlay

    Does anyone know if cobalt loading raises tco2 levels?

  • Bret Battaglia

    A lot of people commenting on here seem to have strong opinions about the “proper” way to “milkshake” a horse….

    • Don Reed

      There’s a big section about it in the latest edition of Emily Post.  I think she wants us to wear a tuxedo while it’s being administered.

      • Bret Battaglia

         Pinky in or out?

        • Don Reed

          I’ll ask her editor, “Four-Finger” Moe, he’s coming in in about an hour.

  • Bret Battaglia

    A lot of people commenting on here seem to have strong opinions about the “proper” way to “milkshake” a horse….

  • Don Reed

    WHEN is a racing fiasco such as this -

    Occuring in the middle of the possibility of a horse finally winning a Triple Crown for the first time since 1977;

    Thereby possibly recovering some of the glory, fan allegiance & profits of the by-now staggering, directionless & money-hemorraging sport of racing -

    NOT a fiasco?

    NEVER.

  • Don Reed

    WHEN is a racing fiasco such as this -

    Occuring in the middle of the possibility of a horse finally winning a Triple Crown for the first time since 1977;

    Thereby possibly recovering some of the glory, fan allegiance & profits of the by-now staggering, directionless & money-hemorraging sport of racing -

    NOT a fiasco?

    NEVER.

  • Don Reed

    “Milkshake?  Sure, I’ll Have Another!”

    • Stanley inman

      Bravo, bravo

  • Don Reed

    “Milkshake?  Sure, I’ll Have Another!”

  • Don Reed

    There’s a big section about it in the latest edition of Emily Post.  I think she wants us to wear a tuxedo while it’s being administered.

  • Don Reed

    This can be ascertained using your kitchen convection oven.  Make sure your cats are out in the backyard before commencing the experiment.

  • Dc

    Right on Shelter Doc Right on, the witch hunt needs to stop and the focus needs to be on what I’ll have Another is and hopefully accomplishes.

  • Bret Battaglia

     Pinky in or out?

  • howard zucker

    Not “resticked” to people who can spell.

  • Stanley inman

    Bravo, bravo

  • Susanb

    I had a show horse who would tye up. This is a build up of too much lactic acid after a work out combined with a high energy feed. It seems like a milkshake or bullet would help prevent the lactic acid build up. In which case why are milkshakes banned at all? It seems that they should be regulated like lasix for horses that have a history and mentioned in the program.

    • Tinky

      PERFORMANCE ENHANCING

      Hello??

  • Susanb

    I had a show horse who would tye up. This is a build up of too much lactic acid after a work out combined with a high energy feed. It seems like a milkshake or bullet would help prevent the lactic acid build up. In which case why are milkshakes banned at all? It seems that they should be regulated like lasix for horses that have a history and mentioned in the program.

  • Geri10718

    A lot of good thought is in the reader commentary today. To me, this game of defining milkshake is the greatest doublespeak event of the year.  It reminds me of Orwell’s, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”  In any case, TCO2 creates far less hazard to horses and riders on a daily basis than the use of bute does.  That’s the more important issue.

  • Geri10718

    A lot of good thought is in the reader commentary today. To me, this game of defining milkshake is the greatest doublespeak event of the year.  It reminds me of Orwell’s, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”  In any case, TCO2 creates far less hazard to horses and riders on a daily basis than the use of bute does.  That’s the more important issue.

  • Tinky

    PERFORMANCE ENHANCING

    Hello??

  • Tinky

    I understood the thrust of your point, Larry, but it still doesn’t hold water.

    If the baseline in CA were too high, then there would be regular false positives, and they would be spread rather evenly around the trainer population.

    That obviously hasn’t happened, so how could the baseline be too high?

  • Jordanlay

    Not sure what you’re trying to say. Google cobalt hypoxia conditioning.

  • Larry Ensor

    Tinky, thanks but I was not trying to make a point but rather pose a question. There seems to be several Vets on this tread that I would like to think have a better understanding of the “science” then I.

  • JC

     Yeah, no kidding. 

  • ShelterDoc

    Sorry Ed,  I was on a rant roll and forgot to proofread myself.  Will try to do better in the next post

  • ShelterDoc

    There are many in the field who feel Vick is not truly remorseful and only saying what he is being told to say by PR people.  I am not sure if he is ever been truly remorseful because he only spoke about his time in prison and getting caught…not about the things he did for the dogs or if he felt sorry for the dogs.
         Also, Im pretty sure in the piece NBC did on Preakness day Oneil did admit he may have placed horses where they shouldnt have been, but he has learned from it.  As far as the positives and milkshaking and all that…no one will ever know the truth.  Working on a lot of animal cruelty prosecutions like I do, the burden of proof is on the prosecution, not the defense, so if the prosecution cannot even prove that a horse was milkshaked or bicarb loaded or whatever you want to call it, why would you not defend yourself to the end if you did not truly do it.  Only Oneil knows what he did or didn’t do.
         Considering the screwed up way that violations are handled in the racing industry, the amount he is spending on legal fees and defense is not to me all that unusual.  Remember he is not just paying for a lawyer and his time.  If you are bringing in your own experts or having your own research and testing done to try and prove your innocence, that all cot money, and is not cheap.  So I am sure a lot of his defense fees are going towards that as well. If after the hearing process he then has to appeal it in the court system, all those fees for experts and the like have to be charged again.  I know from when I testified as a veterinary expert in cases, I charged for the time I was invovled in the case or time spent in the courtroom.  Even if I only testified for 15 minutes, if I had to be there for 5 hours, then the client gets billed for 5 hours.  I usually am more lenient on that than most since I do it for the prosecution, and as a shelter vet it is part of my job, but I do know other vets that charge at that rate, even if the case is settled and they never have to testify. 

  • ShelterDoc

    You are right, I was using the Vick thing as more of an angle of looking at a persons past and using it to tarnish present accomplishments.  Sorry if that was confusing.  It was more of a rant agains the NY Times than anything else.

  • Don Reed

    I’ll ask her editor, “Four-Finger” Moe, he’s coming in in about an hour.

  • Don Reed

    Jordan, it’s black humor.  Stop being a literal-minded “all work and no play” racetracker.  They’re a dime-a-dozen.

  • Nina

    Someday racing has to face all the cheating going on. The more excuses they use the more racing gets hurt. Expose roaches like Druggie and maybe the betting public will entertain you again. Otherwise it will be bye bye.

  • Nina

    Someday racing has to face all the cheating going on. The more excuses they use the more racing gets hurt. Expose roaches like Druggie and maybe the betting public will entertain you again. Otherwise it will be bye bye.

  • JC

    I think you’re getting that confused with poison ivy. Never hear of the hemp thing.

  • Rob from the Az

    So why does the Vet, that knows so much about this get a pass? If has overseen this on any occasion he is just as guilty!

  • Rob from the Az

    So why does the Vet, that knows so much about this get a pass? If has overseen this on any occasion he is just as guilty!

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    well U have NOW!!!…MELLO’S THEM OUT!!!…

  • JC

    Rob says something I have thought about for a long time and not yet put into words.  Yes, so much of this medicating/drugging is beyond the trainer’s expertise.  One has to wonder about the dirtbag vets who think nothing of shooting these horses up with all this stuff.  

    Even as a nurse/nurse practitioner for humans, I took a vow similar/equivalent to the Hippocratic “first do no harm” ideal.  I would feel the same were I an animal practitioner. 

    One has to wonder about all the vets who think nothing of doing these things, and thanks to SaratogaSid below for elaborating on it from an informed standpoint. 

    This brand of performance enhancement is not “medicine”, and it can do a lot of harm.  Don’t any of you care about that?!!  And why?  Hurt those animals for the almighty dollar?!!  Seems to me that violates all the principles re:  attending vet school in the first place. 

    • Tinky

      Trainers are FULLY complicit. No vet will administer performance enhancing drugs without permission from the trainer, even if that trainer remains in the dark about the precise ingredients, etc.

      • Barry Irwin

        Untrue. You are naive.

        • Tinky

          Didn’t realize that Dr. Harthill had been reincarnated…

      • JC

         To say that the vets are partially responsible for doing it does NOT let the trainers off the hook. 

  • JC

    Rob says something I have thought about for a long time and not yet put into words.  Yes, so much of this medicating/drugging is beyond the trainer’s expertise.  One has to wonder about the dirtbag vets who think nothing of shooting these horses up with all this stuff.  

    Even as a nurse/nurse practitioner for humans, I took a vow similar/equivalent to the Hippocratic “first do no harm” ideal.  I would feel the same were I an animal practitioner. 

    One has to wonder about all the vets who think nothing of doing these things, and thanks to SaratogaSid below for elaborating on it from an informed standpoint. 

    This brand of performance enhancement is not “medicine”, and it can do a lot of harm.  Don’t any of you care about that?!!  And why?  Hurt those animals for the almighty dollar?!!  Seems to me that violates all the principles re:  attending vet school in the first place. 

  • Geri10718

    Yes, Jc and Ray.  There ought to be some coverage of how much the vets are in the pockets of the trainers.  Even though an owner is legally entitled to a vet’s reports, it can be very hard to get a copy of one– assuming that it has even been recorded.  

    • May Flower

      Birds of a feather flock together. Owners, trainers and vets are a perfect.

      • May Flower

         match.

  • Geri10718

    Yes, Jc and Ray.  There ought to be some coverage of how much the vets are in the pockets of the trainers.  Even though an owner is legally entitled to a vet’s reports, it can be very hard to get a copy of one– assuming that it has even been recorded.  

  • Tinky

    Trainers are FULLY complicit. No vet will administer performance enhancing drugs without permission from the trainer, even if that trainer remains in the dark about the precise ingredients, etc.

  • Barry Irwin

    Untrue. You are naive.

  • Barry Irwin

    Ed, you old fart!

    Copy it, cut and paste it into a document, increase the front size and it read it anew.

  • May Flower

    Birds of a feather flock together. Owners, trainers and vets are a perfect.

  • May Flower

     match.

  • Ridindirty3

    IF….IHA gets beat in the Belmont. D/O GETS suspended this summer & can’t run the   horse….so the guy sacks him! THAT would be HILARIOUS!

  • Ridindirty3

    IF….IHA gets beat in the Belmont. D/O GETS suspended this summer & can’t run the   horse….so the guy sacks him! THAT would be HILARIOUS!

  • Tinky

    Didn’t realize that Dr. Harthill had been reincarnated…

  • free reign

    The fact that no high percentage claiming trainer, or their vet, attended the hearing in Kennett Square, reveals that the subculture is not interested in, or ready to expose the harsh realities. So many trainers are excellent horsemen, sans shocking, blocking, pig hormones, milkshaking, clenbuterol, epo, even O2 chamber, etc…
    The racing authorities must perform their duty in protecting the horse, bettors and industry image.
    The fact that ONeill has been blessed with such an extraordinary individual is what irks competing owners and trainers, even more that the possiblity that somehow, without anyone(at this moment) in Doug’s barn, he, or anyone “he” instructed to “increase TCO2 level”(not simply instruct to, or let dose/inject/milkshake to ‘win’ or counter tie-up.)
    Everyone knows that the horse could be that good. That debate is irrelevant.
    How a trainer can continue running against other owners and treat horses without facing punishment is the focus. I could name a number of claiming trainers that can out train many others, even without the drugs. They can’t risk their position by coming out against the issue. THOSE IN POSITION OF AUTHORITY must perform their duty.

  • Barry Irwin

    Well worth reading.

  • JC

     To say that the vets are partially responsible for doing it does NOT let the trainers off the hook. 

  • s/s

    More than likely he is using the Nitrous Oxide and Muscle product out of San Juan. Works for awhile until the horse dumps.
    This guy is willing to push the envelope despite the consequences.

  • s/s

    More than likely he is using the Nitrous Oxide and Muscle product out of San Juan. Works for awhile until the horse dumps.
    This guy is willing to push the envelope despite the consequences.

  • Aziggas

    I wish they had asked the vet. they were interviewing to elaborate on the potential other causes of acid-base imbalances because there are many. They act like only a milkshake can alter the balance but there are many other natural causes too. Hey how about that “I’ll Have Another” and his side-kick “Lava Man”? I love them!

  • Renee

    Yes they do care…haven’t any of you been listening??? It helps the horse!!  Helps the horse recover from fatigue that his muscles will endure during a race.  Whats the difference between blood building supplements and other LEGAL supplements? Is Lasix better..No it isn’t because it only masks the problem..doesn’t help in recovery at all.  

  • Renee

    Yes they do care…haven’t any of you been listening??? It helps the horse!!  Helps the horse recover from fatigue that his muscles will endure during a race.  Whats the difference between blood building supplements and other LEGAL supplements? Is Lasix better..No it isn’t because it only masks the problem..doesn’t help in recovery at all.  

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