Los Alamitos Owner Urges AQHA To Adopt Hair Testing ‘To Save The Sport We All Love’

by | 05.16.2015 | 9:00am
Dr. Edward Allred, owner of Los Alamitos race course, imposed a house rule using hair testing

Dr. Edward Allred, owner of Los Alamitos, has written an open letter to Quarter horse owners, trainers and nominators to races at his Orange County, Calif., racetrack about the hair follicle testing program he has implemented for some high-profile races to stop abuse of performance enhancing drugs like clenbuterol, albuterol and zilpaterol, including off-label varieties.

In addition, Allred is urging other states and the American Quarter Horse Association to adopt similar testing measures, he says, “to save the sport we all love.”

Following is the complete text of that letter:

Horse Owners, Trainers & Nominators to Races at Los Alamitos Race Course;

The El Primero and La Primera Derby Trials were, as announced as of December 2014, the first to utilize post-race hair testing by the University of California, Davis Kenneth L. Maddy Laboratory of all the presumed qualifiers. All were negative for Clenbuterol with the exception of Runaway Fire, owned by San Gregorio Racing Stables, Inc. and World Champion Racing Stables, LLC. This horse was given a non-time and the eleventh fastest horse was advanced to the finals.

It is interesting to compare “bubble” times (the tenth qualifying time) for the past three years for the two races. The La Primera “bubble” was .37 to .43 seconds slower in 2015 than 2014 and 2013. The El Primero was .16 to .23 slower in 2015. One might consider this “the Clenbuterol effect.”

Trainers mostly concur that horses cannot compete at a track in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, etc. without Clenbuterol and its analogues. Until other racing states address this problem seriously, Los Alamitos Race Course will stand alone and a truly national circuit will not exist.

AQHA's challenge finals are scheduled at Los Alamitos Race Course in 2016. If a solution to Clenbuterol use is not in hand by early 2016, it is unlikely that regional qualifiers will come to California and be submitted to pre-race hair testing. This would be an acknowledgement that Quarter Horse racing is dependent on performance enhancing drugs similar to Major League Baseball ten years ago.

We are on the wrong side of history in dealing with this problem. Baseball, cycling, body building, and other sports were reluctant to ban and effectively test for these substances, but were ultimately forced by scandals and public and governmental pressure to do so.

We do not have all the answers on performance enhancing drugs, but we do know that during the past five years Clenbuterol, Albuterol, and Zilpaterol emerged in a major way. In self-defense, even well-established trainers have become part of the problem. Techniques evolved, which made the usual blood testing largely ineffective. The use of “off-label” Clenbuterol also became common place.

Trainers have made inquiries about voluntary hair testing on horses sent to California from jurisdictions with more permissive regulations or lack of effective testing. Dr. Rick Arthur, Equine Medical Director for the CHRB, has an established program for hair testing from the University of California, Davis Kenneth L. Maddy Laboratory with hair obtained by an authorized track veterinarian at Los Alamitos for a blanket fee of $400. This can only be done after the subject horse has arrived at Los Alamitos Race Course. There will be no penalties involved for owners or trainers for a positive test, although entry will not be accepted until a negative test is obtained.

We urge AQHA and quarter horse racing states to join us in hair follicle testing and rigid enforcement to save the sport that we all love.

Dr. Edward C. Allred

Owner & CEO, Los Alamitos Race Course


  • shenanigans

    Well intentioned, but he is too old. The cheaters will just wait him out.

    • naprovniknaprovnik

      How crass! He may outlast you. He is making a brave stand against a tide of unethical jerks who stoop as low as they need to win. Let’s support his efforts, shall we? (While YOU are still here)

      • really?

        Sorry to bother you with the truth.

  • Ben van den Brink

    The track owner is fully, right but how does other jurisdictions responds. Without backing, the owners will just stay away from los alamitos

    • AngelaFromAbilene

      That’s going to be the big question. I can tell you this QH & TB owner/breeder/trainer fully supports everything Doc Allred has and is doing. Many of us have never had horses good enough to justify the expense of shipping to Los Al. With his new policies, it may be the only place some of us run.

      • Romanella

        Not everyone is blessed to own horses such as California Chrome who has won 6.3 million
        That would make a great deal of difference

        • AngelaFromAbilene

          What does California Chrome have to do with Quarter Horse racing? Answer: Not a dang thing.

          Here’s a hint Romanella, pay attention {on all sites} to the topic before making a comment. That way, you won’t sound like you haven’t a clue.

          • Romanella

            You said that you did not have horses that were good enough to justify the cost of shipping to Los Al.
            I have only been involved in throughbred flat racing and since Chrome has always been based at Los AL he just came to mind and believe me I knew exactly what I was saying
            Having said that I have nothing else to say to you

          • AngelaFromAbilene

            I have TB’s I could ship to Los Al every day. This article however is not about TB’s, it’s about Quarter Horses. I’m not shipping QH’s all the way to Los Al to run against about a bunch of doped horses and I sure as heck ain’t fixin’ to dope mine to run with ’em. Los Al has ALWAYS been THE place for premier QH racing, TB’s not so much.

          • kim

            thank you angela , you actually read the article, :)

          • Romanella

            I read this article and hope that all racing requires hair testing
            Both the public and the horses deserve it
            The person above knows very well why I mentioned Chrome

          • Romanella

            Really ship TB s everyday. I would not recommend it since they don’t race until July 2nd and only for 2 weeks. As you must know TB racing is limited at Los AL and has a questionable future
            If you race TB’s then all the more reason to own a great champion like Chrome

          • Romanella

            You clearly stated above that you have T’B’s that you could ship everyday.
            Also, in your first post you said that you bred TB/QH
            Please read again

          • Bobbie Brown

            Ok after reading the main article then the comments from the two people who both pissed me off one for being so stupid as well as should get out of horse racing totally because you have not leaded anything at about it while working where a farm maybe if at a track maybe walking hots no washing buckets but truly you haven’t been around this industry at but you can read head lines & only them plus I am thanking you read how to do books & after reading on the subject mean that you know all about racing WRONG YOU HAVE NO CLUE ABOUT IT AT ALL & SHOULD NEVER COMMENT ON THINGS YOU HAVE NO UNDERSTANDING OF AT ALL & the second person was very much a person who knows as well as is apart of horse racing & I understood you totally but I am a “TRACKER” born & razed but you mad me mad when you let the stupid lier get to you just over look or send one reply to them” HAY STUPID ARE YOU ON DRUGS OR SHOULD YOU BE ” but you should not be here sends this is racing stuff & you are not know that is said I have same thing to say about the article for one I am so tiered of the TB racing world thanking they are better then the Quarter Horses when they are racing as well & if they would pull togeather & all test the same way plus hair testing both breeds is how it should be as well as all states should have the same rules to run under so we would not have the problem of can use in one but not a nather & by the way the TB people use just as much or even more shot then the quarters do I know because I am from both worlds & the TB world pays lots of money to keep everything quite Quarters are real and will amit to it & take the punishment for it they are honest crooks HAHAHA back to the hair testing could it be dune in shorter or longer time then blood &pee because if it take no longer to test the hair then the other two I say do away with the other two & only test hair it would be way easyer to pull hairs then it is to do pull& catch really it would that would be the thing to do sents hair is the best way to test & can’t be covered up or masked as well as a clearer more precise results of everything but how long ease it take to get the results back on hair tests it would also save tracks money they would not need all the testers any more he’ll they wouldn’t need the test barn any more the vet could pull it before or after the win picture right there when they untack then the trainer could sign it & horse just good home (to there own barn).

          • Romanella

            These statements say a great deal about you and nothing about me
            I see that you are listed as ” guesr. ” You sound a great deal like the person who has
            been ranting at me
            Have you had 4 fingers of Jack?

          • AngelaFromAbilene

            Sometimes blatant stupidity gets to me and this instance, it did in a big way. {I’m still trying to figure out where I contradicted myself.}

            Coming from the TB side and marrying into QH’s, you’re right. The TB world, in general, looks down it’s nose on QH’s racing yet employs the very same drugs and practices. The TB side watches what the QH side is using and before too long, they’re using the same things. “Honest crooks.” I haven’t heard that in a while but that pretty much {vast majority} sums it up.

            I’d love to see a nationwide drug policy and hair testing implemented as you described, I’d support it just like I do what Doc Allred is doing. But it’d be too easy and it makes too much sense and everyone knows, we can”t have that. I just want to be able to run my horses on a level field: my horsemanship and my horses ability against your horsemanship and your horses ability and may the best one win. I know that sounds Pollyannaish but one can hope while still living in reality.

          • Share

            Here, here, AngelaFromAbilene! I support your point of view whole-heartedly!!!

          • Romanella

            I thought that you said that you didn’t have horses good enough to cover the expense .
            At least that was your reasoning in the first post

          • AngelaFromAbilene

            QUARTER HORSES. Do you understand that QUARTER HORSES are NOT TB’s? Do you understand the level of QUARTER HORSE racing at Los AL is much higher than the TB level? And yes, ye who lacks comprehension, I do in fact know the TB schedule at Los Al.

          • Romanella

            You clearly stated above that you have T’B’s that you could ship.everyday.
            You also stated in your first post that you were breeder, owner and trainer of both
            TB and QH
            Please read your statements again

          • AngelaFromAbilene

            God help me, I’m going to spell this out as though you are a child.

            1. This article has NOTHING at all to do with Thoroughbreds running at Los Alamitos. {WHY did you even bring California Chrome into it?}

            2. I breed, own and train both Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses.

            3. Los Al is the pinnacle of QH racing. The equivalent of Keeneland or Saratoga.

            4. I have never had a QH good enough to justify spending the money shipping to Los Al. I do however have TB’s that could easily run at Los Al. Saying I could “ship everyday” was not literal as I’m very aware of their calendar.

            5. Everything that Doc Allred is and has done on the drug front applies to QUARTER HORSES.

            6. As an owner/breeder/trainer of Quarter Horses, I FULLY support every move Doc Allred has made.

            Were these same measures applied to Thoroughbred racing anywhere, I would fully support it. I’d love nothing more than to see them applied at EVERY racetrack in country. As of now, those “powers that be” on the Thoroughbred side of the industry are only paying lip service to drug reform.

            Do you understand now? Is there anyone that does NOT understand what I’m saying? Is my English lacking or do I need to translate this to another language?

            Now, I’m going to pour 4 fingers of Jack and hope your response doesn’t make my head explode.

          • Romanella

            You have in fact controdicted yourself several times and I am delighted that it is indelibly in print.
            My, you have.quite a schedule doing all these many tasks. Both training QUARTER Horses and Throughbreds, a feat that a even Baffert or Lukas couldn’t do.
            These resonsibilities are 24/7. How do you always seem to. be posting on multiple sites when I know for a fact that it is a most time consuming career. Up at 4 a m and can be 6 p m before you leave. Of course, that’s just with TB. I don’t know about QH
            I would not advise drinking alcohol. Not with all your many career obligations 24/7

          • AngelaFromAbilene

            I fail to see where I have contradicted myself at all. You on the other hand have yet to explain WTF California Chrome has to do with Allred wanting hair samples from QH’s that run at his track.

            Apparently, you are not familiar with the many trainers that have both TB’s & QH’s. It’s actually quite common out here. I also raise cattle and manage oil leases. Again, not that uncommon.

            If you’ll notice the time’s when I post and are familiar at all with how a barn runs, you’d realize it’s not taking anything at all away from my work. I guess you also failed to consider that it’s possible I post mainly from the barn. I suppose you also are not aware that I stay on the farm and when we run, I haul in. Then again, I really don’t believe you know the first thing about anything you yammer about. I have been as nice to you as I’m going to be, I’m done. Keep it up, you just may get to meet me face to face.

          • Romanella

            I told you that I was a partner in a major farm in Kentucky
            It is true that I only have dealt at the top level in the states and France and England
            Our operations were run and supervised by full time employees who.were experts in their field.
            My concentration was on breeding and selling but we lived in NYC and only went for the yearling sales in Kentucky and Europe
            You have not been nice at all I know that we will never meet as we certainly don’t run in the
            same circles
            Bullies say such foolish things


          • Bobbie Brown

            By the way TBs run every night at Los Al going four & half furlongs STUPID

          • Romanella

            I have never been to Los Al and was going by the meet schedule.
            I do thank you for the information as a guest poster who uses laguage transparently close to the person ranting at .me
            I really am surprised you care to tell me

          • Romanella

            See T’B’s everyday

        • kim

          what the hell does California chrome have to do with anything???????

          • AngelaFromAbilene

            Nothing. Zero. Nada. Zilch. It takes a twisted “special” kind of {il}logic to get from the subject of Doc Allred’s letter above to California Chrome.

  • Bob

    Too late Allred sport already dead :( No one cares about QH racing, AQHA has never really
    done anything for racing. They had to be sued to force them to require blood testing to validate
    foal registration back in the 90s even though every other sport had it for decades.

    • AngelaFromAbilene

      Maybe it’s dead to you but there are many of us that are still involved in it.

    • Michael Cusortelli

      Did you hear that, America? “Bob” says “sport already dead,” and “AQHA has really never done anything for racing.”
      I guess if “Bob” says it, it must be true!

      • kim

        haha good one !

      • greg

        Who the hell is Bob right now I believe we have ten million dollar races clean it up like Doc is trying and believe me best is yet to come

        • Bill O’Gorman

          Seems like Bob gave you his credentials to opine

    • Tres Abagados Stupidos

      Question “Bob”…….What have you ever done for racing? Other than get on a racing website and make a dumb a$$ comment like this. It is a tough climb for Doc to get things changed but if anyone can do it he can.

    • Bill O’Gorman

      Bob, you must be ignoring the tremendous advances brought to TB racing in Ca. by and from the QH community. Shame on you!

  • Richard C

    The obvious problem in any sport is how the chips are stacked on the table — if a majority sitting in the chairs want a dirty game…..cards will magically appear from under the table and nothing can be done to stop it.

    • Bill O’Gorman

      In a nutshell.

  • Jack Frazier

    I support Dr. Allred in all his endeavors to clean up the sport of racing at Los Alamitos. I began my love of Quarter Horse racing way back in 1961 as a jockey, and they have always been my first love in racing. I tried and tried to race Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos and did win two or three over a period of time from 1995 until I stopped racing them a few years ago. I could not compete with those who were abusing whatever they were using and it was a veritable shopping list of drugs. Everyone knew what was going on and no one said anything or stopped it. A few trainers were ruled off but the real abusers continued then and now to race. It is the worst kept “secret” in racing.

    When horses began running, 300 yards in 15.2 seconds, 350 yards in 17 seconds and faster, it was evident something was rotten in Denmark. It stopped being fun because I knew the best I could do, even though I bred to Splash Bac, Fishers Dash and other good stallions, and bought several at the sales, that breeding wasn’t enough and I felt then and now that if a person has no integrity or moral compunction against using both legal and illegal drugs, you can’t stop them. If the AQHA racing jurisdictions in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Kansas, New Mexico and wherever Quarter Horses race don’t step up and clean house, it is over. And that is a pity. I hope the AQHA follows his lead and begins hair follicle testing because it is the right thing to do. If they don’t it will be as Willie Nelson sang, “Turn out the lights, the parties over.”

    • Bill O’Gorman

      I haven’t had anything to do with QHs, obviously, other than that Bubba Cassio and Jerry Nicomedes [hope those are spelt right] came to ride Brondesbury with a view to a race with Dash For Cash [again?] in 1982: nothing came of it although they were keen to take him to Ca. He went wrong here so we should have let them!! I would think now that it was Lyme disease or similar. Picture of him on p. 30 – for historians this was taken at what was the end of the old 4 mile course. Back to the subject of Los Alamitos – this a very positive initiative, but, as Richard C points out, it will not be popular with participants. Stand by for loud protestations, and a trip into the long grass: see Proverbs 26:13.

      • really?

        Thanks for bringing the bible into the fray. Just when I thought the PR could get no worse, u proved me wrong! Congrats!

        • Bill O’Gorman

          Really! Wait and see if I’m right when you get a list of all the reasons this testing cannot be done – although admittedly there being a lion in the streets is not going to be the most common objection.

    • gregrobertson

      Hi Jack, This is the problem in TB’s also. As a former pedigree student and owner of mares from top female bluehen famiies it became quite clear pedigree means nothing, it’s the trainer with the good stuff who wins. And why I no longer own and runners or bloodstock.. horse racing is just a joke now.

      • Jack Frazier

        I feel much the same. I hope it changes but I do have my doubts

  • guest

    Doc if you read this there is a simple solution to all this all you need is the AQHA to stand beside you and make it manditory that a horse that plans to run in the futurities or derbies have to have a negative hair sample within the last thirty days of the race and they must stay on the grounds until they run. You put this in the nomination forms and it is just like another payment they make to be elgiable to these futurities and derbies! Would this not take care of it? Whats 400 dollars if your running at a million?

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