Leading commercial breeder Stonestreet Farm has announced the development of an innovative blood sampling, testing, and secure storage protocol in partnership with The University of Kentucky's Gluck Equine Research Center.
The program was developed in response to reports of off-label bisphosphonate use in growing horses. Combined with newly available post-sale testing offered by auction houses, buyers of a Stonestreet bred and raised yearling will have an opportunity to review a blood-health window of at least six months prior to their purchase.
“Last year we raised and sold nearly $20 million of yearlings but our focus has always been to raise race horses, not sale horses. We are proud of what we do and I think transparency in raising a race horse is so important. We want our buyers to have the utmost confidence in our yearlings” said Barbara Banke, owner of Stonestreet Farm.
During 2019, blood samples were drawn from each Stonestreet yearling on a regular schedule developed by the Gluck Equine Research Center using current bisphosphonate detection periods. These were drawn by a third-party veterinarian experienced in handling samples within a regulatory environment who was hired by the Gluck Equine Research Center.
Sample collection was supervised by Dr. Scott Stanley, professor of analytical chemistry at the Gluck Equine Research Center, who ensured a strict chain-of-custody and authored documentation connecting each sample to the yearling from which it was taken. Samples were stored and frozen in accordance with the normal regulatory laboratory standards established for pre- and post-race blood samples in a dedicated freezer.
The samples were tested by Gluck for bisphosphonates and anabolic steroids. The purchaser of any Stonestreet-bred and -raised yearling in 2019 may request a report stating the test results for the individual that they purchased.
Further, at their own expense, they may also request testing for anabolic steroids and/or bisphosphonates on the blood samples which remain in secure storage at the Gluck Equine Research Center. Purchasers have the opportunity to request any additional testing during the seven days following the fall of the hammer by completing the Request to Test form available at www.stonestreetfarms.com. Following completion of the secure storage period, the blood samples will be donated to Gluck and used in research projects.
“We applaud Stonestreet's efforts to employ an approach driven by transparency and good science as part of their sales operation. We look forward to further results of this project as time goes on,” said Nancy Cox, dean of UK's College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “This kind of project is what we do best, to merge our college's scientific capacity with a worthy industry goal. It also displays our commitment to safety in all aspects of the equine industry.”
Banke continued, “We invite everyone to join us, because demonstrating that we breed and raise the healthiest and strongest racehorses is not only good for our business, it's good for the entire sport”
To learn more about the sampling and testing protocol, visit www.stonestreetfarms.com
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