BLOOD-HORSE: JOCKEY CLUB TO FUND DRUG TESTING

By Tom LaMarra | Bloodhorse

The Jockey Club will provide up to $500,000 in 2014-15 to some racing jurisdictions to step up out-of-competition drug testing with a focus on graded stakes.

The initiative, announced Aug. 11 at The Jockey Club Round Table in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., signals more involvement by the organization in the area of medication and equine drug testing. Much of this year’s Round Table conference dealt with drugs and how their use is perceived in horse racing.

Jockey Club vice chairman Stuart Janney III said about one-third of racing regulatory agencies have rules that permit out-of-competition testing. Many of them, however, don’t conduct the screenings in part because of cost or legal issues.

Janney cited some progress. In 2012-13, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission tested each starter in the Kentucky Derby at least twice before the race, and in New York, the New York State Gaming Commission tested starters in two grade I events: the Belmont Stakes and Wood Memorial Stakes.

Out-of-competition testing, which generally is done to detect blood-doping agents, could be done for the Travers Stakes in late August and the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in early November, Janney said.

Under The Jockey Club grant structure, jurisdictions that receive funds to pay for the testing must expand it to test for other Class 1 substances such as steroids and dermorphin, also known as “frog juice.” Others would be added to the list as tests are developed.

The Jockey Club will make up to $250,000 available in 2014, and the same amount for 2015.

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