07/03/2003 12:00AM

Ontario to test for EPO


TORONTO, Ontario - Beginning Nov. 1, samples taken from horses racing in Ontario will undergo tests for antibodies of erythropoietin (commonly known as EPO or Epogen), the Ontario Racing Commission announced Thursday.

Any horse testing positive will be put on the vet's list and will not be allowed to race for an extended period of time.

The commission is introducing a newly established test to discourage the use of the banned substances EPO and darbepoetin.

Ontario established rules last year prohibiting the possession or use of EPO and darbepoetin and has been working in conjunction with the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to develop common protocols for testing.

EPO causes a horse to produce more red blood cells and is thought to improve performance by increasing the blood's oxygen-carrying capacity.