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NYS Working Towards Cobalt Testing

Published: January 13, 2014 2:04 pm ET

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The New York State Gaming Commission has issued a statement in which it says that it is taking steps to begin testing for ‘Cobalt,’ a substance which has been a topic of discussion in the racing industry as of late.

It was announced on January 8 that trainers with horses that have excessive amounts of a Cobalt in their systems will be barred from racing at the Meadowlands Racetrack, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs.

Following the announcement, Racing Medication and Testing Consortium Executive Director & COO Dionne Benson went on the record as stating that the use of Cobalt is also a concern in the thoroughbred industry.

“The RMTC is in the process, and has been for a while, of trying to develop an administration study for cobalt so we can detect its use,” Benson was quoted as saying. “It’s a naturally occurring element, and you can’t eliminate its presence from the horse. You can’t say if it’s here, it has been administered, so we have to determine there is a discernible difference with administration. But we know it’s being used in both thoroughbreds and standardbreds.”

A report by the New York Daily News contains a statement by the New York State Gaming Commission saying that it applauds the action taken by the trio of racetracks.

“The commission supports efforts by track operators to exclude parties who put horse health and safety in jeopardy and call into question the integrity of horse racing,” the statement reads.

The statement goes on to say, “New York’s Equine Drug Testing Program is continually evolving. The Morrisville laboratory has acquired on loan the equipment to test for cobalt. Personnel are being trained to test for cobalt, and George Maylin (the director of Equine Drug Testing in New York) has been consulting with Meadowlands officials to help establish the proper thresholds for determining cobalt positives.”

(With files from and the New York Daily News)

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