02/18/2015 1:52PM

Canada begins testing for high cobalt levels


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency has announced that it has begun testing for elevated levels of cobalt in official samples collected at Canadian tracks, but certificates of positive analysis will not be issued until regulations have been amended to include it in the schedule of drugs.

Results of this testing will be used to establish an appropriate threshold in Canada, and data will be shared with provincial racing commissions, which may wish to initiate more immediate measures to address the misuse of the substance.

Cobalt is a naturally occurring chemical element present in all horses at low levels. It can also be found in several feedstuffs and supplements, such as vitamin B12. Horse-racing regulators around the world have been investigating allegations that large amounts of cobalt have been administered to racehorses in the belief that it enhances performance by inducing the production of red blood cells.