So, what's up with harness racing in Kentucky? Did pro cyclists suddenly enter racing there?
According to the paper, 4 harness racing horses tested positive for EPO, a drug heretofore not known to dope Kentucky horses...breaking down barriers. However as noted in the story, the horse's names will not be released.
This is thought to be the first time the dangerous drugs have been detected in racehorses in Kentucky
The horses were among dozens tested by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission at the request of the track, which instituted out-of-competition testing for the performance-enhancing drugs last week.
However, the names of the horses, trainers, and owners might never be made public because the testing comes under the regulatory gray area of "house rules," established by tracks to go beyond state regulations. Keeneland and Turfway have implemented such house rules to ban toe grabs on front horseshoes.
This article looks at EPO doping in Canada, to note the drug can induce severe side effects.
Since the ORC (Ontario Racing Council) banned the substance two years ago, about 10 cases of the hormone's use in Ontario race horses have been reported. Last fall, the ORC adopted a test based on detecting antibodies produced in horses given human EPO. That test was developed at Cornell University by George Maylin, a 1965 graduate of OVC...
EPO, which is secreted naturally by the kidneys, is used therapeutically in people with chronic renal failure, particularly patients on dialysis awaiting transplants. Used improperly to boost red blood cell counts, it may cause “sludging” of the blood and, ultimately, strokes in horses and humans.