Starting next Wednesday, the New York Racing Association will begin testing to determine if any horses have been given illegal “milkshakes” before a race.
A “milkshake” is the administration, through a tube into the horse’s stomach, of a mixture of bicarbonate of soda, sugar, electrolytes and possibly other substances to reduce fatigue and enhance performance.
Also, it appears NYRA will not resume taking bets from 10 rebate simulcast sites it recently cut off in the wake of federal indictments of an alleged illegal gambling ring, even though wagering from those sites constituted about 10 percent of NYRA’s handle and could result in a purse cut.
Rules concerning milkshake, or TCO2 testing, were adopted Feb. 4 on an emergency basis by the N.Y. State Racing and Wagering Board. Both pre- and post-race blood tests will be administered each day to determine if blood-gas levels exceed legal thresholds, set at 37 millimoles per liter.
Pre-race testing will be random, limited to four races per day, where horses will be taken to a receiving barn before the race and blood will be drawn by the N.Y. State veterinarian. Post-race tests will be given to the first three finishers (first four in superfecta races) and any other horses at the stewards’ discretion.
Penalties will be administered by NYRA. For a first offense, a trainer whose horse tests positive will be required, at his or her expense, to move any horses entered to race into a NYRA security barn by 5 p.m. prior to race day, for a period of 30 days.
A second offense results in a trainer having his or her stalls revoked, and trainers who stable off the grounds will not be allowed to enter. In effect, a second offense means a permanent ban from racing on the NYRA circuit.
The reaction of the horsemen, most of whom have been contacted by NYRA racing secretary Mike Lakow, has been very positive, according to NYRA CEO and president Charles Hayward.
As for the banned simulcast sites, Hayward indicated it’s unlikely their contracts to take NYRA’s signal will be renewed, for several reasons.
One, Hayward does not approve of systems that allow Judi Poker Online bettors to tap directly into the tote system using computers.
Two, the pricing structure — the percentage of handle the simulcast sites give to NYRA — would have to be adjusted in NYRA’s favor.
Three, given the recent money-laundering scandal, there is no way to guarantee the money bet at these sites is clean.
Hayward did not have available figures of how much the handle has dropped since the rebate shops stopped taking bets.