dr. rick sams

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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When The Cheaters Get It Wrong: Cobalt Latest In A List Of Misestimations

The horse is a complex creature; so complex that even to those looking to give him a chemical boost, he can remain a mystery. Last week’s meeting of the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council focused on the most appropriate way to regulate the use of cobalt in racehorses, but most experts there agreed that science […]

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It’s Unanimous: Indiana Commission Votes to Regulate Cobalt

At its September 4, 2014 public meeting, the Indiana Horse Racing Commission voted 3-0 to approve rules to regulate cobalt levels in race horses. Cobalt is a naturally occurring trace mineral. The excessive administration of cobalt may enhance the performance of, and potentially become hazardous to, the horse. The Commission’s action is based on recommendations […]

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Voss: Ten Things I Learned From the Welfare and Safety Summit

The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation hosted its fifth Welfare and Safety Summit Tuesday and Wednesday, with speakers addressing everything from intra-articular joint therapies to injury statistics for jockeys and exercise riders. Here are a few things I didn’t know before attending the Summit: 1. When searching for the explanation behind the perceived fragility in today’s […]

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Everything Old Is New Again: Examining Thyroxine

Off-label use of thyroxine (sold as Thyro-L, Levoxine Powder, or Levo-Powder) has been popular among trainers since the 1970s, but recent revelations from leading Thoroughbred conditioners about blanket use of the product in their barns has veterinarians and regulators concerned. When used according to label instructions, levothyroxine supplements are intended to correct hypothyroidism—a condition in […]

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Testing, Testing: How Strong Are Racing’s Drug Testing Programs?

When the state of Maryland released a call for proposals from laboratories interested in taking on the state’s post-race testing, Dr. Rick Sams, director of the HFL Sport Science Lab in central Kentucky, read over the rules carefully. The request had a number of requirements regarding the ideal candidate’s certifications but left the actual description […]

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Chasing the Frog: Keeping Up With Slippery Cheaters

Illegal drugs in racing are certainly nothing new. Horsemen were brewing up miracle potions to get an edge as far back as the days of chariot racing, and over time the drugs of choice developed in pace with human pharmacology. For trainers who are inclined to cheat by using banned substances, the drugs in their […]

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