According to a recent report by the Daily Racing Form, research by the Racing Medication Testing Consortium revealed a good news/bad news scenario about illegal drugs in racing. Unfortunately, more trainers than previously thought are giving their horses diluted illegal substances at undetectable levels. The good news is that those substances aren't doing anything to enhance the horses' performance.
Officials with the RMTC said that they are learning more about substances which are marketed to trainers as illegal performance enhancers that will not show up in tests, when in reality many of the substances don't show up on tests because they don't contain the enhancers–or anything else of value. One of these drugs is reportedly Sarapin, which was used in the Cibelli case and is marketed as a pain block, but in laboratory tests has shown no ability to relieve pain in either horses or humans.
The situation leaves the RMTC with a conundrum–whether to fund the development of new tests for innocuous substances, or whether to put the money and time toward catching cheaters who are using actual performance enhancers.
Dr. Dionne Benson, executive director of the RMTC, said in her time as an assistant to a racetrack veterinarians, she heard of horsemen asking vets for race-day treatments that the vet knows will have no effect on the horse's performance. Trainers continue to use the substances because they don't want to fall behind competitors.
“We used to say those things were for the trainer, not for the horse,” she told the Form.
Read more at Daily Racing Form
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