Press Release:

MORIOKA — The banned muscle-building steroid boldenone was detected in a horse entered in a December race at the Mizusawa track in Oshu, Iwate Prefecture, the prefectural horseracing association announced on Dec. 26.

It was the fifth racehorse to test positive for boldenone in the northeastern prefecture since this summer. The racing association suspects that the drug was intentionally administered, and thus canceled all regular races for the remainder of the season, from Dec. 30 to Jan. 7. Iwate Prefectural Police are investigating the case on suspicion of violations of the Horse Racing Act for use of a prohibited drug.

According to the association, the drug was detected in 2-year-old male Nature Samson, which is managed by a stable at Morioka racetrack in the Iwate prefectural capital. The horse was entered in a race at Mizusawa racetrack on Dec. 17 and took third place. The Laboratory of Racing Chemistry in the city of Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, examined a sample taken from the horse after the race and reported to the association on Dec. 24 that it had tested positive for boldenone.

Earlier, the steroid was detected in a horse that ran a race in July, and then in another in September. After the two incidents, the association confirmed that all its 717 registered horses had tested negative for the drug. However, boldenone was found again in two other horses in November. All of the four horses were from stables at Mizusawa racetrack, and the cause of the positive tests was unknown.

Due to the previous incidents, the association canceled some races in September and November. It also set up more than 150 security cameras and deployed round-the-clock security personnel at Morioka and Mizusawa racetracks, and resumed races on Nov. 24.

Akitoshi Uchimiya, vice administrator of the association, apologized at a Dec. 26 press conference “for inconveniencing fans and residents and causing them to worry.” Because the newest boldenone case was a horse belonging to a Morioka racetrack stable, unlike the four other horses, he suggested that “there is a high possibility that the culprits intend to target prefectural horseraces.”