Post-Preakness analyses show no drug violations

Drug testing

May 24, 2008|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,SUN REPORTER

Drug tests conducted after last Saturday's Preakness uncovered no violations, the Maryland Racing Commission said yesterday.

The horses were tested for twice as many substances as on a normal Pimlico race day because of the higher stakes, commission executive director J. Michael Hopkins said.

Maryland normally does about 32 drug screens on a race day but conducted 65 after the Preakness. The substances tested for included stimulants and anti-inflammatories - but not anabolic steroids, which aren't regulated yet at Maryland tracks.

The state also opted not to take pre-race blood samples to test for the performance-enhancing drug erythropoietin, or EPO. While pre-race EPO sampling is occasionally done at Triple Crown races, Hopkins said the drug's effects typically last longer than the ability to detect it. "We don't see any benefit to it at this point," he said.

Maryland doesn't yet have testing procedures in place for anabolic steroids. The state said it is aiming to begin regulating the drugs by next year.

Hopkins said the delay - neighboring Pennsylvania and Delaware have banned steroids - is because the state wants to determine how best to conduct the tests and structure the rules, and what sorts of penalties to adopt.

Rick Dutrow, who trains Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown, said before the Preakness that he's among those who use the steroid stanozolol, the trade name of which is Winstrol, on his horses. "I usually give it to them once a month," Dutrow said.

Asked the purpose of the drug, Dutrow replied, "The vets would know that better than me."

jeff.barker@baltsun.com

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