02/09/2005 12:00AM

NYRA's milkshake tests set to begin Feb. 16


The New York Racing Association will implement a testing program for the performance-enhancing substances known as milkshakes beginning Feb. 16, NYRA announced Wednesday.

The program will test horses both before and after races, NYRA officials said. Prerace tests will be conducted on all horses in up to four random races a day, according to NYRA officials, while postrace tests will be conducted on the top three finishers in all races, along with horses designated by the stewards, NYRA said. In a race where a superfecta was offered, the four top finishers will be tested.

The test will measure the total carbon dioxide level in a horse's blood. If the total carbon dioxide exceeds 37 millimoles per liter, the finding will be considered a positive.

Any trainer whose horse tests positive will, for a period of 30 days, be required to move any of his horses who are entered to race to a security barn monitored by NYRA personnel by 5 p.m. before the racing day, NYRA said.

If the trainer has a second positive, the trainer will be prohibited from entering horses at any NYRA racetrack. A trainer with horses on the grounds will also be ejected and forced to give up his stalls.

Charlie Hayward, NYRA's president, said that the ban would last "forever."

NYRA had previously announced that it would begin milkshake testing early in February, as the result of the release of an indictment in January that alleged that several individuals had bet on a horse at Aqueduct in December 2003, with the knowledge that it had been administered a milkshake. The horse, A One Rocket, who was trained by Greg Martin, won. Martin's license has been suspended.

After that announcement, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board last Friday adopted emergency rules providing for the threshold level of 37 millimoles per liter. The board also adopted regulations allowing trainers to void claims should a horse test positive in the race from which it is claimed. The emergency rules will expire after 90 days, at which point they can be renewed for an additional 90 days. The board has said that it intends to make the rules permanent, a process that typically takes six months.