By: Steve Anderson

Hair follicle testing will be conducted on all runners participating in the Bank of America Challenge Championship races for Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos on Oct. 29. The Challenge Championship is a series of major stakes for runners from throughout North America.

The American Quarter Horse Association announced the parameters for out-of-competition hair follicle testing on Thursday in an attempt to inform out-of-state owners and trainers of the guidelines that will be used at Los Alamitos. The California track has the toughest out-of-competition testing in the nation for medications such as clenbuterol, a bronchodilator. Los Alamitos has a zero-tolerance policy for clenbuterol.

The AQHA has recommended a six-month withdrawal period for clenbuterol to avoid a positive through hair testing. The lengthy withdrawal period could keep some horses from other circuits with different medication regulations from competing at Los Alamitos.

Horses in the Challenge Championship races must be on the grounds at Los Alamitos on Oct. 12, and will undergo pre-race tests for clenbuterol, albuterol, zilpaterol and ractopamine within two days of arrival.

Albuterol is a bronchodilator. Zilpaterol and ractopamine are administered for muscle growth.

Pre-race tests for those medications will be conducted at venues other than Los Alamitos until Sept. 20, the AQHA said in a statement. Tests at locations other than Los Alamitos must be collected and submitted by official racetrack veterinarians.

Horses that test positive through out-of-competition testing will be ineligible to race in the Challenge Championship, but owners and trainers will not face sanctions. The AQHA has stated those tests will be not be subject to secondary tests to confirm or refute the initial results.

Horses tested before being transported will be tested again upon arrival at Los Alamitos.

Horses that test positive in post-race urine or blood tests for those medications could be disqualified from purse earnings, with potential sanctions for trainers.