Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
Pre-race tests of Kentucky Derby horses all negative
FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 4, 2007) – Blood samples from the 20 horses entered in the Kentucky Derby tested negative for "blood-doping" agents, according to the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority (KHRA).
"The equine industry is Kentucky’s signature industry, and our efforts to craft a new, comprehensive equine drug policy have been undertaken to protect and maintain the integrity of the industry," Governor Ernie Fletcher said.
"The eyes of the world will be on Kentucky and Churchill Downs on Saturday for the Kentucky Derby, and I want to commend the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority and Executive Director Lisa Underwood for their very thorough work on this vital issue of equine medication," Governor Fletcher said.
Initial screens for two prohibited blood-doping agents – erythopoietin, or EPO, and darbepoietin – were conducted at Iowa State University. KHRA veterinarians drew the blood samples on Wednesday. A positive screen at Iowa State would have resulted in further testing at the University of Pennsylvania, but no positive screen occurred, Underwood said. The initial screening is the first in the history of the Kentucky Derby. Derby horses undergo additional testing on race day.
With Governor Fletcher’s support and leadership, the KHRA has limited drugs and medication that can be administered to thoroughbreds and has set penalties for violators. The equine drug policy has been one of the major initiatives of the authority, which Governor Fletcher appointed after abolishing the former Kentucky Racing Commission.
"Testing for the Kentucky Derby is another step in the process of improved testing of thoroughbred race horses in Kentucky," Underwood said. "I commend Governor Fletcher for his leadership on this vital issue."