AQHA Racing Challenge Implements Clenbuterol Testing: AQHA 10/29/15

By: Press Release

Starting in 2016, horses in all regional Challenge races will be subject to hair testing for clenbuterol.

In the American Quarter Horse Association’s continuing and ongoing efforts to further the safety and welfare of our horses, horsemen and industry, and to assure fairness of competition, AQHA will be implementing hair testing for the Association’s Racing Challenge program, beginning with the regional qualifying races and all championship races. The 2016 Bank of America Challenge Championships are scheduled for Los Alamitos Race Course in Los Alamitos, California.

Los Alamitos has been at the forefront of hair testing and addressing industry issues with beta-2 agonists such as clenbuterol, zilpaterol and ractopamine. With AQHA’s marquee event being held at the Southern California track, it makes sense at this time that AQHA takes this approach to hair testing, using our program that encompasses multiple states and countries and proves the need for better and more in-depth testing.

To avoid a positive hair test for clenbuterol, AQHA is recommending a minimum six-month withdrawal time.

“It is imperative that we address the performance-enhancing drugs in our industry, and we continue to see an incredible number of clenbuterol rulings from multiple jurisdictions,” said AQHA President Dr. Glenn Blodgett. “Through our Multiple Medication Violation System, we have had 151 clenbuterol positives reported since January 1, 2014. We cannot and will not allow this to continue to happen.

“We have had several states step up and pass enhanced rules for clenbuterol, but based on the comments we have heard throughout 2015, we feel the biggest impact has been made in California where hair testing has been in place for almost a year,” Dr. Blodgett continued. “Horsemen at Portland Meadows in Oregon have begun implementing hair testing also, and we commend the tracks and horsemen that have led the industry to this point. We will continue our efforts so owners, fans and everyone involved can trust this industry.”

“The plan is to begin hair testing in 2016 with our Racing Challenge program,” said Craig Huffhines, AQHA executive vice president. “And then as more labs get up to speed on the testing protocols and the jurisdictions revise their rules to allow for hair testing and other biological samples, we will look at expanding hair testing to graded stakes races and eventually all types of races.”

AQHA will release specific details regarding hair collection processes and dates along with the 2016 Challenge condition book and Challenge race dates over the next couple of months. In the meantime, horsemen, along with their respected veterinarians, should evaluate how they diagnose and treat symptoms and make sure their horses are in top racing condition and free from any performance-enhancing drugs before sending them to the track.

For more information on American Quarter Horse racing, visit www.aqharacing.com.