Leading commercial breeder Stonestreet Farm has announced the development of an innovative blood sampling, testing, and secure storage protocol in partnership with the University of Kentucky’s Gluck Equine Research Center. The program was developed in response to reports of off-label bisphosphonate use in growing horses. Combined with newly available post-sale testing offered by auction houses, buyers of a Stonestreet-bred and -raised yearling will have an opportunity to review a blood-health window of at least six months prior to their purchase.
“Last year we raised and sold nearly $20,000,000 of yearlings, but our focus has always been to raise racehorses, not sale horses,” said Barbara Banke, owner of Stonestreet Farm. “We are proud of what we do, and I think transparency in raising a racehorse is so important. We want our buyers to have the utmost confidence in our yearlings.”
During 2019, blood samples were drawn from each Stonestreet yearling on a regular schedule as recommended by the Gluck Equine Research Center using current bisphosphonate detection periods. A third-party veterinarian experienced in handling samples within a regulatory environment, who was hired by the Gluck Equine Research Center, drew the samples.
Scott Stanley, PhD, professor of analytical chemistry at the Gluck Equine Research Center, supervised sample collection, ensured a strict chain of custody, and authored documentation connecting each sample to the yearling from which it was taken. Samples were stored and frozen in accordance with the normal regulatory laboratory standards established for pre- and post-race blood samples in a dedicated freezer.
Gluck staff tested the samples for bisphosphonates and anabolic steroids. The purchaser of any Stonestreet-bred and -raised yearling in 2019 can request a report stating the test results for the horse they purchased. Further, at their own expense, they can request testing for anabolic steroids and/or bisphosphonates on the blood samples that remain in secure storage at the Gluck Equine Research Center. Purchasers can request any additional testing during the seven days following the fall of the hammer by completing the Request to Test form available at Stonestreetfarms.com. Following completion of the secure storage period, the blood samples will be donated to Gluck and used in research projects.
“We applaud Stonestreet’s efforts to employ an approach driven by transparency and good science as part of their sales operation,” said Nancy Cox, PhD, dean of UK’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “We look forward to further results of this project as time goes on. This kind of project is what we do best, to merge our college’s scientific capacity with a worthy industry goal. It also displays our commitment to safety in all aspects of the equine industry.”
Source: Modified news release by Gemma Freeman of Stonestreet Farm