NY lab detects blood- and gene-doping agent in two Standardbred samples

Posted: Jan. 23, 2020

Dr. George Maylin, Director of the New York Equine Drug Testing Program at Morrisville State College, has confirmed the presence of a major doping threat to both human and equine sport in two Standardbred horses at Yonkers Raceway.

The New York laboratory is believed to be the first lab, in either horse racing or the worldwide World Anti-Doping Association network of human testing labs, to screen for and confirm the presence of IOX-2. The substance is both a blood- and gene-doping agent that is the type of emerging small molecule synthetic doping agent that Maylin warned about at last year’s ARCI annual conference in Arcadia, Calif.

Maylin, a member of the ARCI Scientific Advisory Group, has stressed that the more serious threat to the integrity of the sport lies in this type of doping agents rather than the misuse of therapeutic medications that have commanded the majority of attention by racing industry organizations and represent the majority of drug violations detected by racing regulatory agencies. In human sport, athletes can receive permission to compete with substances in their system that are banned in horse racing.

All ARCI-member jurisdictions have been put on notice of the details of the New York development.

IOX-2 is an HIF (hypoxia-inducible factor) stabilizer that can trigger EPO-like effects as well as overall stimulation of an athlete.

“The New York State Gaming Commission, and Dr. Maylin specifically, should be commended for their work and focus on finding new and emerging threats to clean sport,” ARCI President Ed Martin said. “Dr. Maylin has worked long and hard looking for these type of substances and his work will benefit all ARCI member jurisdictions.

“Unfortunately, IOX-2 is just one doping agent and we are not naive to believe that others are not finding their way into professional sport. Whether it be a racing lab or a WADA lab, we share a common mission and can never let our guard down. Today, it’s IOX-2; tomorrow, it’s going to be something else. Horse racing is blessed to have experts like Dr. Maylin in our regulatory network.”

The NYSGC, according to a ruling on its website, said IOX-2 was found in samples taken from two horses trained by Michael Temming, who has been suspended indefinitely and fined up to $25,000 for each positive test. A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 31.

The ruling states that IOX-2 was found to be present in samples taken from Sports Bettor, who raced Dec. 7, and Showmeyourguns, who raced Dec. 17. The horses were disqualified and the purses redistributed.