08/19/2013 1:37PM

Saratoga: Travers entrants face scrutiny, out-of-competition testing


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Horses entered in Saturday’s Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga will be required to be on the grounds of the track Wednesday and will be subject to additional scrutiny and security protocols, New York’s racing regulators and Saratoga’s operator, the New York Racing Association, announced Monday.

Under the measures, which also were in place for last year’s Travers, regulators will take blood and urine samples from the horses Wednesday to test the samples for drugs that are prohibited under New York’s out-of-competition testing rules. Those rules ban classes of drugs that are difficult to detect in postrace samples, including blood-doping drugs, gene-doping agents, and “any other protein and peptide-based agents,” including toxins and venoms.

The measures will require trainers to provide veterinary records for all treatments given to their horses from noon Wednesday until the day of the race. The records will be published on the website of the New York State Gaming Commission, which regulates racing in the state.

In addition, all of the horses entered in the Travers will be monitored 24 hours a day from Wednesday until the time of the race. If a horse is already stabled on the grounds, the horse will be allowed to remain in its present stall, but all feed and equipment delivered to the stall will be subject to inspection by security personnel, and all visitors to the horse’s stall must be logged in.

Also under the protocols, all Travers horses will have blood samples taken one hour before the race to assess total carbon dioxide levels in the blood. Testing of carbon dioxide in blood is used to determine whether a horse has been subjected to treatments designed to delay the onset of muscle fatigue. Purposefully manipulating the levels is illegal.

New York regulators and NYRA first cooperated on heightened security measures for the 2012 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. Since then, the 2012 Travers and the 2013 Belmont Stakes also were targeted for additional security measures, largely along the same lines as the protocols announced for this year’s Travers.

No horse has tested positive for any illegal substance as a result of the out-of-competition tests put in place for the races.

diana More than 1 year ago
No matter what,it is going to be GOLDEN SOUL !!!! trust me
Thomas s More than 1 year ago
Best to assume the system's design had intent. This was to prevent doping of any kind, not to catch dopers. Have to assume that it would be suicide for a high profile trainer to risk anything here. best to assume all connections involved are comfortable with even playing field...ahem, just 16,000 races to go.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
Why would anyone be against the most complete testing process possible ? There is a great deal of $money at stake. Not to mention careers, championships, integrity at stake. I think we should all be behind all measures which create or promote a fair regulated race/sporting event. Anytime money/gambling is present you cant use the HONOR SYSTEM!!
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
NY is just grandstanding. How do I know that? Because all this is for the big races only. How does disturbing the preparation of horses, such as earlier with their idiotic detention barn, and now with blood testing an hour before the race, not affect the horses and the race? As good as out-of-competition testing is, disturbing the preparation is as ignorant as painting Hansen's tail blue. The guy had to do it. And he didn't think it would make a difference. I have heard trainers behind the scenes about this owner... lol
kc m More than 1 year ago
these protocols are more like what was done for the KY derby this year than what was done for the belmont. for the travers, the horses will be monitored 24 hours a day; for the belmont, there was only a 24 hour "point person" trainers had to contact if they needed to change the drugs that they indicated would be supplied between june 5-june 8. urine samples will also be taken 3 days out--unlike the belmont which just tested the blood 3 days out. this is probably the most important difference--logging is pretty useless if no one is actually watching to make sure those entered were actually logged. traces of drugs are often detecable longer in urine than in blood. it also can detect substances used to mask EPO. only orb and giant finish received no legal medications at during all 3 days before the belmont--ever other horse received medications on those 3 days before the race...
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
So you're saying Pletcher uses drugs to enhance performance? Wow. News flash.
shannaemoon More than 1 year ago
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StockPicker More than 1 year ago
Please go away this is for horse players not leaches
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
All for out-of-competition testing. And dead-set-against disturbing the preparation of a horse. How are handicappers supposed to factor in how the changed preparation affects each horse? I see no mention of a separate barn this time, so it looks like the complaints did not fall on deaf ears.
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
Drawing blood an hour before the race does disturb the preparation. Terrible idea. Oh well, I'll skip this race blindly based on that little fact. Plenty of other races.
kc m More than 1 year ago
any disturbance will be equal for all horses,which is as fair as carrying the same weight--which you can't say for a doped horse against a clean horse. if you think you aren't throwing away money betting on loosely regulated races, because they cause less disturbance to the horses and are more fair...well it is a truth universally acknowledged that a fool and his money are soon parted...
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
What's the alternative ? I think the industry NYRE are on to something they feel as others something going on. Why would horseplayers, fans, barns, and stables be against making sure a fair playing field/Race unfolds !! I'm all for everything and anything they do to regulate-judge the event If only for PIECE OF MIND. Real $$$ championships,careers, lives are at stake
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
Out-of-competition testing is the best answer to the problem, as far as I'm concerned. Disturbing the preparation for a horse is only done by people who don't understand horse racing, as is the case in NY. The earlier detention barn was a disgrace, and so is taking blood an hour before the race. The preparation period is part of the 'larger' race. It affects the horses. So NY can do whatever they want to make a stance, but I'm not going to bet my money on those races. Also, if it's so important to NY why don't they do it in the rest of the races? Why only the big races? How is that not grandstanding?
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
For years in NY and East coast racing it was a combination of STEROIDS AND STIMULANTS. When horses starting entering the track and one of them looks like a MONSTER ready to explode with all the signs a 5 yr.old could see and the others look asleep. It doesn't take a doctor to realize theres a narcotic influence. Then for confirmation the horse would DUEL run FAST FRACTIONS and still have plenty to come home.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
If there is no medication/drug use manipulation then some of these current day trainers are the greatest HORSEMEN in the history of racing. I don't think many believe that even PEERS find it difficult to understand some of the barns/stables win percentages
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
There are a few left. Shug, Jerkens,Mott, Motion,Matz, Clement, Sheppard, My retired friend Frank Alexander.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
I agree use to work for Frank Alexander barn and he was one that had doubts about the integrity of some of the new leading racing stables with extraordinary win percentages. Agree all of those trainers are top-class great horsemen...
Ryan Cale More than 1 year ago
do they actually expect any horse to ever test positive when they make sure to give everyone detailed information of exactly how and when they will test? at best, they might discourage some trainers from running a horse in the race. at worst, they just give them the information they need to be able to avoid getting caught. i don't think anyone is under the illusion that this brings even an ounce of integrity to NY racing. just an attempt at getting good press. most drug cheats in sports are caught when there is an element of surprise....not when they are given a roadmap to avoiding detection.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
Ryan, Good point a little more secrecy and alternative methods/test wouldn't hurt
kc m More than 1 year ago
they aren't trying to catch a doper, they are trying to disuade doping in this race--by announcing that doping protocals will be more stringent, they deter doping methods like EPO which is usually administered 4 days before a race and milkshaking which is usually administered just before a race. if they wanted to catch dopers they'd test all horses in all races...they just want there marquee race of the meet to at least have some semblance of legitimacy just like the KY derby did...if you think the slop had more effect on the KY derby runners and the "disappointing results" of supposedly monster horses, than the tighter doping protocols--bet accordingly but don't be surprised if you lose your money again.
jay More than 1 year ago
I heard rumors that A-Rod was spotted walking around the stalls on Sunday. Maybe that is the reason for the tightened security.
Jamaal B More than 1 year ago
Lmao!! A-Rod around the stalls....classic!