Breeders’ Cup Drug Testing

While Santa Anita Park Racecourse readies itself for next weekend’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, officials have been monitoring the entries to the respective events very closely. With the disappointment of Big Brown being retired, they were relieved to hear that the owners of Curlin have decided to enter him into the race. They are still somewhat concerned about the surface, but feel he is ready. And while most horses have passed their initial Breeders’ Cup tests to qualify for the event, there is one more hurdle to overcome before the big day, namely drug testing.

This week, contender names have been selected for random drug testing. With the integrity of horse racing being under the spotlight in recent months, organizers of the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Santa Anita Park Racecourse are not taking any chances. Most of the drugs and anabolic steroids that are in use cannot be detected in conventional testing that used to be done after the racing events. They have therefore changed tactics, and will be do testing before race day arrives.

The collection of the samples needed to run the tests, will be done with the help of the Breeders’ Cup committee. Horses were selected off the pre-entry listing, to ensure that test results can be reviewed as soon as possible. Drug testing before the race will ensure that the races are run fairly and that the rules and regulations in regard to the anabolic steroids are upheld. The drugs which are screened for specifically include darbepoetin, EPO and any other forms of blood doping agents that is stipulated on the list of illegal substances. Testing for these drugs before the race will aid in eliminating horses and their trainers that test positive from the event.

In accordance with the rules, if a horse tests positive for anabolic steroids, trainers will be suspended from the Breeders’ Cup Classic for a year, and if a trainer is caught for a third violation of the rules, they will face a life time ban from the event. Horses and trainers that have abided by the rules, will not be effected by the testing, all they have to do is concentrate on the event of the year, that awaits them on the 24th and 25th of October 2008.