dr. rick sams

EPO: What We Know, And What We Don’t, About The Blood-Doping Threat

When Lance Armstrong confessed in 2013 to taking Epogen to boost production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, horse racing fans began looking behind every tree for the boogeyman called erythropoietin, or EPO. Many had long suspected EPO had risen to prominence in horse racing in the 1990s alongside anabolic steroids, and news that one of […]

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Spike In Corticosteroid Tests Highlights Growing Pains In New Mexico

Change is never easy, even when it’s for the better. Horsemen and officials in New Mexico have been learning that the hard way over the past few months. In June 2018, the New Mexico Racing Commission (NMRC) began a new drug testing contract with a new laboratory and, almost immediately, saw a rise in corticosteroid […]

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Gorajec: Minnesota Racing Commission Has Some Explaining To Do

Trainer Judd Becker recently received a 90-day suspension after Bushrod tested positive for cardarine following a victory in the $100,000 Mystic Lake Turf Express Stakes Aug. 25 at Canterbury Park in Minnesota. Writing in his InsideRacing Regs blog, former longtime regulator Joe Gorajec wonders why the trainer got such a light penalty for what he […]

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Uniformity In Penalties And Drug Thresholds? RCI And Pennsylvania Regulators Have Some Explaining To Do

To: Ed Martin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI): I read with great interest your testimony before Congress last month in the hearing regarding the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017. In your remarks, you defended our current system of medication regulation in the United States and stated there is “total uniformity in […]

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Racing Integrity’s Newest Threat: Human Designer Drugs?

It’s no secret the challenge of post-race drug testing has always been keeping regulators one step ahead of those who use illegal drugs or illegally manipulate medication. But with the advent of Internet sales and bitcoin, one laboratory director fears his job, and that of racing commissions everywhere, is about to get a lot more […]

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Study Suggests Need For Another Revision To Uniform Drug Guidelines

Recommended withdrawal guidelines for detomidine, commercially known as Dormosedan, may face review after a recent study suggested horses could test positive while adhering to the withdrawal guidelines, depending on the dose they receive. The current guideline from the Racing Medication Testing Consortium suggests the threshold for a positive be set at 2ng/ml in urine and […]

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What’s The Deal With TCO2, Anyway?

An announcement from the Arkansas State Racing Commission in early March that it would begin randomly testing Oaklawn Park runners for elevated TCO2 was widely lauded as another step toward improved integrity in the state. The commission adopted a TCO2 threshold in February which brought its rules for allowable levels in line with national standards. […]

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Where’d You Get That Number? The Process Behind Therapeutic Drug Guidelines In Racing

As the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium continues its fight for uniform medication guidelines across states, it is perhaps no surprise that the group has encountered opposition. Some horsemen and veterinarians have protested the practicality of the guidelines, complaining that they do not allow for adequate treatment of actual health problems with therapeutic medications. Others […]

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Detection Of New Synthetic Drug Disturbing But Less Problematic Than Dermorphin

An announcement by the Association of Racing Commissioners International that the New York Equine Drug Testing Program confirmed the first incidence of a particular synthetic opioid in a racehorse was met with surprise and frustration. The finding of the drug, called AH-7921, may be unsettling, but experts say the substance is nothing new, and it […]

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Taking My Money Elsewhere: California Gets It Wrong On Lasix

I’m not what anyone would refer to as a “major player” when it comes to betting on horses. I cut my teeth at the Chicago area tracks in the late 1970s, then spent eight years in Southern California while working as a handicapper and editor in the Los Angeles offices of Daily Racing Form. I […]

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