Reminder from the Illinois Racing Board

Stewards/State Veterinarian Medication Alert

With today’s highly sophisticated equine drug testing anyone handling or party to any race horse must take precautions that with less sensitive testing were not necessary.

Many drugs or compounds legally and properly used by humans can and have shown up in post race blood or urine samples resulting in loss of purse money, as well as fines and suspensions for the trainer.

Products as innocuous or seemingly benign as coffee, colas, chocolate bars, cigarette butts or chewing tobacco can all trigger positive tests.

Recreational drugs as well as those taken for pain relief, blood pressure, and ADHD treatment all have the potential to contribute to positive tests in post-race samples if diligence isn’t taken by those with any interaction with a racing horse.

Suggestions to trainers to minimize the risk of introducing foreign substances into a horse’s body.

  1.  Educate all horse attendants about the necessary diligence that must be taken to avoid drug transfer.
  2. Stall urination should be forbidden. Persons on any medication or drug should thoroughly wash their hands after handling the medication. The handling of tongue ties and bits should be done with recently cleansed hands or those covered by disposable gloves and by responsible individuals only. Hands should also be washed between oral administrations to multiple horses.
  3. Emphasize to employees that source contamination is not limited to those that take prescription or recreational drugs. As stated above, many seemingly innocuous products or over the counter drugs have the potential to trigger a positive test.
  4. Closely monitor employee/horse attendant conduct in regard to required diligence.


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