Therapeutic Drug Research, Necropsies Recommended by Racing Group

A subcommittee of the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council has recommended going forward with two studies--one that could lead to establishment of withdrawal times or threshold levels for therapeutic medications and one analyzing the medication levels in horses that sustain catastrophic injuries.

Under one of the proposals approved by the subcommittee, a training stable would be set up through which horses could be administered medications and then monitored to see how long the substances remained in the animals' systems when tested. An estimated 20 horses would be trained and monitored as part of the study, which is designed to provide a more realistic picture of how long medications remain in a horse under training conditions, according to Jim Gallagher, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority. The training stable would have a full-time trainer, grooms, and exercise riders, and the only difference between it and a racing stable is that the horses would not compete in races.

KHRA vice chair Connie Whitfield, who chairs the drug research council, an advisory body to the authority, said she would contact retired jockey Chris McCarron to determine whether the training stable could be operated in conjunction with the North American Riding Academy he is establishing at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Gallagher said the idea for a stable came from the national Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, which would fund the testing research using the data collected through the stable. He said the study would parallel one being conducted in California in which private trainers are using stable horses to assist with establishment of withdrawal times and threshold levels.

Under the second study approved by the subcommittee, the Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center at the University of Kentucky would analyze medications found in horses that suffer catastrophic injuries while racing in the state. The information obtained through the necropsy would then be compared with the medication tests obtained from horses that win races in the state.

"In the first year, I would think we would look at what drugs a horse was racing with when he was injured," said Larry Bramlage, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, a member of the subcommittee. "We could compare those drugs to the drugs in the system of the winner, which would provide some insight."

Both subcommittee recommendations have been submitted to the drug council for further consideration before they are submitted to the racing authority.

About the Author

Ron Mitchell/The Horse

Ron Mitchell is Online Managing Editor for The Blood-Horse magazine. A Lexington native, Mitchell joined The Blood-Horse after serving in editorial capacities with The Thoroughbred Record and Thoroughbred Times, specializing in business and auction aspects of the industry, and was editor-in-chief of the award-winning Horsemen’s Journal. As online managing editor, Mitchell works closely with The Blood-Horse news editor and other departments to make sure the website content is the most thorough and accurate source for all Thoroughbred news, results, videos, and data.

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