01/29/2005 12:00AM

NYRA will freeze samples for possible tests in future

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In New York's continuing quest to crack down on the abuse of illegal medications, the Cornell University equine testing lab will begin freezing urine samples for use as new tests for performance-enhancing substances are developed.

The freezing of specimens will begin with races this week, New York Racing Association officials said Saturday.

Funding for new test development will come from NYRA and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, as previously announced. Both entities will put up $75,000 for 2005, according to NYRA officials.

"Storing frozen urine samples for future testing can be an effective means to keep pace with the experimental new drugs that are reported to be used in racing and other sports," said Dr. George Maylin of Cornell University. "Samples can be preserved and stored for up to one year."

"The freezing of urine samples will further strengthen our ability to detect the use of illegal substances in horses racing at our tracks," said Steven Duncker, co-chairman of the NYRA Board of Trustees. "A strong alliance has been formed by NYRA, the State Racing and Wagering Board, Cornell University, and NYTHA to decisively deal with the issue of illegal medication and the integrity of racing in New York State."

Saturday's announcement came shortly after NYRA announced that it would begin testing for milkshakes in early February.