Buyers of horses younger than four years old at three major auction houses in the U.S. will be able to have those horses tested for bisphosphonates, according to a joint statement issued Monday morning by the Keeneland Association, Fasig-Tipton Company Inc. and Ocala Breeders' Sales Company Inc. (OBS). According to the release, the policy is undertaken to ban off-label use of these drugs. The revised Conditions of Sale for each of these sales companies takes effect July 1, 2019. The first sale held under this new policy will be the Fasig-Tipton July Sale, July 8 and 9 in Lexington, Kentucky.
At each of the three sales companies, buyers of young horses may request testing for bisphosphonates to be performed at the time of purchase. If the sale horse tests positive, a buyer has the right, within 24 hours of notification, to rescind the sale.
This measure by Keeneland, Fasig-Tipton and OBS-the three major U.S. Thoroughbred auction companies-mirrors the action they took in 2009 to ban the use of anabolic steroids in sales horses.
Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason, Fasig-Tipton President Boyd T. Browning Jr. and OBS President Tom Ventura were quoted in the joint statement as saying, “This is an integrity issue. We all agree that this policy is critical to strengthen buyer confidence in the entire Thoroughbred auction process. As research continues, we will amend our Conditions of Sale to reflect the advancements in testing science.”
In summary, the policy will be implemented as follows:
- The buyer has the right to request, at the time of purchase, that blood be drawn from a horse to test for the presence of bisphosphonates;
- The respective sales company will coordinate testing with a designated laboratory and report the results of those tests to the consignor and buyer in a timely manner;
- If the sale horse tests positive for bisphosphonates, the buyer has the right, within 24 hours of notification, to rescind the sale and return the horse to the consignor; and
- The buyer will bear the $500 cost of the test; however, if test results are positive, the cost will shift to the consignor.