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Kentucky Derby Sample Tests For "South American Frog Fluid"

Friday, 29th June 2012

Test samples taken from runners in this year's Gr1 Kentucky Derby & Gr1 Kentucky Oaks "are among those now being tested for dermorphin, a powerful pain-killer that has been detected in more than 30 horses in recent weeks" reported bloodhorse.com. Dermorphin (a fluid from certain South American frogs) "is related to morphine & can kill pain, stimulate racing & suppress the feeling of exhaustion after exercise". Kentucky Horse Racing Commission equine medical director Dr Mary Scollay confirmed "the state's equine laboratory began testing for dermorphin last week" & that process "includes retrospective testing of samples taken from this year's Derby & Oaks entrants". Scollay said there were 5 samples taken among the 20 horses that ran in the Derby & 4 from the Oaks. Under Kentucky regulations, all post-race samples are retained for 6 months & Scollay noted a "subset of those samples is then retained for an extended period & the state is able to test the retained samples as emerging threats are identified & corresponding testing becomes available." As a result, Scollay added, as well as the Derby & Oaks tests "additional retained samples representing a cross-section of the racing population, will also be subjected to analysis." Meanwhile the US National Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association emphasised it has "zero tolerance" for trainers who use illegal Class 1 & 2 substances; dermorphin is a Class 1 drug under the classification of the Association Of Racing Commissioners International. To date, the dermorphin positives "have been found primarily in horses that raced in the southwest & Louisiana & were 1st detected in tests conducted by Industrial Laboratories in Colorado". In the latest positive, stewards at Louisiana Downs on June 22 suspended trainer Keith Charles for the maximum 6 months & sent the case to the Louisiana Racing Commission for further action, noting the "penalty imposed is insufficient".

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