New York begins testing samples for presence of bisphosphonates

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Oct. 27, 2021

The New York State Gaming Commission Oct. 26 announced that the state’s equine drug testing laboratory has begun testing biologic samples for the presence of bisphosphonates.

Testing of the samples taken from Thoroughbred racehorses will be performed by the New York Drug Testing and Research Program. The action follows an advisory that recommended no bisphosphonate be administered to a racehorse less than four years old and a warning to owners, trainers and veterinarians about their responsibility to guard against impermissible administration of the substances.

The warning mentioned potential penalties. The Oct. 26 announcement states that “absent written (NYSGC) approval of a valid therapeutic use exemption, detection of bisphosphonate compounds in biologic samples obtained from 2-year-old and 3-year-old Thoroughbred racehorses will be considered to be evidence of a violation.” The NYSGC said a $25,000 fine and loss of an occupational license may be imposed in such cases.

In addition, a horse that tests positive for bisphosponates will not be permitted to race until it is re-tested and found to be clear of bisphosphonate compounds.

Many racing jurisdictions have banned use of bisphosphonates. The prohibition is part of the Mid-Atlantic Strategic Plan to Reduce Equine Fatalities.