By: Howard Wright in Washington
Horses disqualified after testing positive for a prohibited substance will be barred from the official annual end-of-season ratings, the World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, produced by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.
The decision was taken by the IFHA executive council in Washington and revealed by chairman Louis Romanet at the Pan American Racing Conference, an appropriate venue since had the ruling been in place last year it would have affected one horse trained in the US and very nearly accounted for another trained in South America.
Masochistic, who was disqualified after finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint for producing a positive post-race sample for anabolic steroid stanozolol, appeared in the 2016 rankings on the minimum qualifying mark of 115.
Don Inc, who won one of South America’s biggest older-horse races, the Gran Premio Latinoamericano in Rio de Janeiro, was thrown out after also testing positive for stanozolol, which was also found in the fifth-placed runner.
Don Inc continued racing and on his next outing won a Group 1, recording a Racing Post Rating of 113.
The first horse to be affected by the IFHA ruling could be the Brazilian-bred four-year-old Deep End, who finished fourth behind Ascot-bound Sixties Song in the Latinoamericano, run this year in Chile, in March, who is understood to have failed a post-race dope test.
The Latinoamericano is sponsored by Longines, which also backs the World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, and last year’s disqualification is believed to have caused some embarrassment for the watchmaker, although steps to introduce a ratings ban had already been mooted by IFHA executive council members.
Romanet told delegates in Washington: “I was questioned by Longines. The situation of Don Inc and Masochistic isn’t acceptable, and in future we’ll exclude horses disqualified in their own country if they test positive for a prohibited substance.”
The move is part of the IFHA’s drive against raceday drugs, about which Romanet said: “Horses should compete only when they’re free of medication and drugs. For us there can be no other philosophy.”
Romanet also revealed the executive council had approved the first five IFHA-referenced laboratories, specially assessed for their equine drug-testing facilities. They include the facility at Fordham, near Newmarket, operated by the LGC Group and formerly the site of the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory, which carries out all testing for the BHA.
The other are RASL at Flemington in Australia, LCH in Paris, the Hong Kong Jockey Club facility at Sha Tin and UC Davis at the University of California.