Racehorse Drug Testing Delays Mount, States Eye Options

A backlog of samples at a respected laboratory has prompted Indiana and Kentucky racing officials to seek other options.
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Delays at the respected Lexington, Kentucky, equine drug-testing laboratory LGC have forced two of its biggest customers, the Indiana Horse Racing Commission (IHRC) and Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC), to consider other options.

In August, the IHRC announced it had reached an emergency contract with Industrial Laboratories in Denver, Colorado, because LGC had a backlog of samples that required confirmatory testing. Joe Gorajec, IHRC executive director, said Oct. 14 that commission staff last week picked up dozens of delayed samples from the Lexington lab so that they could be shipped to Industrial Laboratories.

Gorajec said those samples had gone through the initial screening process to sort out samples that need further "confirmatory" testing. For instance a sample that shows a therapeutic substance in the screening process has to be analyzed to determine its level relative to a threshold. A screening that indicates any level of a prohibited substance also requires confirmatory testing.

This confirmatory process is where the Lexington lab, which last year was one of the first two accredited by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, is falling behind. Gorajec said the dozens of Indiana samples that needed confirmatory testing at the Lexington lab have been sent to Denver, where the lab will begin again with the screening process

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Frank Angst is a staff writer for The Blood-Horse magazine. An American Horse Publications three-time winner in best news story category, Angst has covered horse racing for more than a decade. Angst spent ten years at Thoroughbred Times, where he earned awards as that magazine’s senior writer and helped launch Thoroughbred Times TODAY. Besides covering horse racing, Angst enjoys handicapping. Angst has written about sports for more than 20 years, including several seasons covering a nationally ranked Marshall Thundering Herd football team.

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