dr. rick sams

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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Indiana: Gorajec Responds to Moss Commentary

The following article was submitted by Joe Gorajec, who since 1990 has served as executive director of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission. On Nov. 15, 2014, the Blood-Horse published an online commentary by Maggi Moss entitled “When Regulation Runs Amok.” In her commentary, Ms. Moss attempts to paint a picture of Indiana racing being out of control, […]

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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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Lab: State Administration of Lasix Working in Kentucky

Since Kentucky regulators took over the administration of race-day Lasix in October of last year, scientists at the state’s official testing laboratory say the change in regulation appears to be doing its job. Although the rule change initially resulted in errors, adjustments in the administration procedures seemed to improve the process. Dr. Rick Sams, director of […]

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The Breeders’ Cup Forum: Inside the Testing Lab

Richard Sams, Ph.D., is director of HFL Sport Science, a Lexington, Ky., laboratory that performs drug testing for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and the Virginia Racing Commission, among other jurisdictions. It is one of two North American laboratories to have received accreditation from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (the other being the Kenneth […]

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