03/18/2005 12:00AM

Louisiana to test prerace

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The state of Louisiana will switch to prerace testing for illegal alkalizing agents beginning March 24, state racing officials said Friday.

The state had previously been testing for alkalizing agents using blood samples collected approximately 90 minutes after the race, according to Dr. Steve Barker, the lab director of the Louisiana State University Medication Surveillance Laboratory.

The switch to prerace testing, generally considered more accurate than postrace testing, will take place with only four days remaining in the Fair Grounds meet but will continue during the Louisiana Downs meet.

Barker said that the state felt compelled to change to prerace testing because of concerns that horsemen had modified the way alkalizing agents are being administered. Alkalizing agents are commonly called "milkshakes" because the agents can be administered in a pasty white solution through a nasal-gastric tube, but evidence has emerged to indicate the agents are more typically being administered through feed supplements.