New York Horsemen Commit $450,000 To Purchase New Drug Testing Equipment

by | 09.01.2015 | 3:16pm
New York THA president Richard Violette Jr.

The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NYTHA) today announced its commitment to acquire state-of-the-art testing equipment for the New York Equine Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College. The new equipment, a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer, will be used to screen for new drugs that are alleged to be used in horse racing, including synthetic marijuana; nootropics, which enhance mental function; and modified existing drugs and peptides. It will provide New York's Equine Drug Testing Program with the increased sensitivity needed to test for these compounds in blood, urine and hair samples.

NYTHA will cover the entire cost of the equipment, approximately $450,000.

Over the last seven years, NYTHA has contributed more than $1 million to enhance New York's Equine Drug Testing Program. In 2008, NYTHA put up $500,000 to acquire the equipment to test for anabolic steroids. The organization donated $100,000 to the New York Equine Drug Testing and Research Program in 2012 to advance research to strengthen testing for illegal medications such as gene- and blood-doping substances, as well as snake toxins and protein-based drugs.

“As we've demonstrated in the past, NYTHA is staunchly committed to ensuring a level playing field for New York's owners and trainers,” said NYTHA President Rick Violette Jr. “We don't know that these ‘designer' drugs are being used in Thoroughbred racing, but we need to be sure that our drug testing program has the tools it needs to combat any efforts to cheat. This new equipment will help to do just that.”

  • Racing Fan

    Yeah, this is great except for the fact that there are still too many “legal” drugs that the NYTHA promotes which is still not going to rectify our sport.

    rick v and nyra are steadily a national joke when it comes to drug testing…. here is a list of NY “super” trainers within the last 5 years… rudy r, , scott l (since moved on) linda lovely,
    michelle( babe) nevin ,m maker and the list goes on and on….if you want ti rid the game of cheaters it is real simple… 2-3 positives in a career for these designer drugs or anabolic steroids and you lose your right to train horses….for a minimum of 10 years… similar to what BABE got……

    • nathan rotstein


      • Hamish

        Just shut that down and see what happens.

  • Hamish

    One of the purposes earmarked for the 2% of the purse monies that flows through the NYTHA is both drug research and modernized testing equipment, so things like this should be standard operating procedure. Good thing Cuomo approved the additional 1% of purses, received since to 2007, to the NYTHA yesterday as it made this purchase a no brainer. Let’s see how the lab does with top notch equipment.

  • nathan rotstein


  • If that $450,000 was used to pay a professional investigative firm, more cheaters would be caught red handed with illegal drugs than all of the testing equipment available in the world today. It is a matter of police work and the will to bring it to bear. Those charged with representing horsemen today will do anything to avoid the inevitable, which is bringing on board an independent outfit to test, police, investigate and oversee drug use in American racing.

    Rick Violette has the talent to win horse races without resorting to the use of drugs. For the sake of keeping the sport above water, he should throw his weight behind identifying the cheaters and running them out of the game. That would be a much bigger contribution to the game than fighting a losing battle to keep horses floating on air in an enhanced state.

    C’mon Rick, get with the program and make a difference. Just imagine how good you would feel with this as your signature accomplishment, instead of your other agenda.

    • John G. Veitch Saratoga Spring

      One of the pieces of equipment purchased was a Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer. This offers an advantage over traditional Mass Spectrometers in that it increases the resolution of the spectral analysis. Thus, virtually any substance in the horses blood can be identified. This should make it almost impossible to use the “designer drugs” that are supposedly being used and not detect them. Time will tell, but I think this is the best way to ID any Trainer using illicit drugs….

      • How long after EPO is administered to you think enough of it stays in the blood to be tested?

        • John G. Veitch

          You’re referring to erythropoietin (EPO) hormone?

          • Racing Fan

            So you’re saying this will pick up synthetic designer drugs? Don’t think so. Barry’s solution is the way to go. Hire more security, shake down vets, trainers and grooms more often. That’s the solution.

          • John G. Veitch Saratoga Spring

            I think so. Traditional Mass Spectrograms work via ionizing then adjusting the strength of the magnetic field for spectral analysis. It works, but if the designer drug has a mass/charge similar to another compound, might not be able to separate. Quadrupole works by having different polarizing electric fields, which really separates out any compound in the sample.

  • Karl Bittner

    I’ll take a stand with Gural and get behind what he believes is the right thing to do. He has a well publicized record of getting rid of drug cheats from his tracks. If they go ahead and purchase this equipment what becomes of it when or if USADA takes over. Or is this a preemptive strike to stop that from happening?

    • Credit for breaking down the elements of this maneuver.

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