The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) Tuesday released a summary of the results of the 2018 Anti-Doping and Drug Testing Program conducted by U.S. racing regulatory bodies.
According to the ARCI release, in 2018 horses competing in 95,618 individual races were tested, 43,574 flat races (Quarter
Horse and Thoroughbred combined) and 52,044 Standardbred races. There were 1,561 (0.60%) violations of the medication rules out of 258,920 samples tested. On average 3.2 horses were tested in each flat race and 2.26 horses tested in each Standardbred contest.
The ARCI has described violations involving Class 1 or Class 2 substances as instances of “doping.” Violations involving substances of a lesser class often involve overages of medications deemed therapeutic or authorized by U.S. federal law for veterinary use.
Comparing results from the past two years, the figures released Tuesday also showed:
In 2017, 11% of all violations found were for Class 1 or 2 substances. In 2018, that number dropped to 6.8% of all violations.
In 2018, there were 107 findings out of 258,920 samples tested for these substances deemed to have the greatest effect on performance, or 0.04% of all samples tested. In 2017, there were 169 findings out of 293,704 samples, or 0.06% of those tested.
Violations involving Class 3 substances were 26.2% of all adverse analytical findings in 2018, a slight increase over the 24.5% detected in 2017. There were 409 Class 3 AAF’s in 2018–0.16% of all tested–compared to 376 in 2017–0.13% tested.
Violations involving substances deemed least likely to affect performance–Class 4 and 5 substances–accounted for 66.9% of the adverse analytical findings in 2018, slightly up from the 64.5% of AAF’s in 2017.
“Horse racing and human sport share the same challenges in combating those who cheat,” said Ed Martin, President of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. “While the overall clear rate is comparable, I do not believe anyone is under the illusion, in either human sport or horse racing, that we are catching everyone who will attempt to cheat. Industry investments in anti-doping research and a greater emphasis on expanded investigatory staff at the regulatory agencies and racetracks is essential if we are to effectively combat this threat.”