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California Cobalt Limit Now In Effect

Published: October 9, 2015 11:05 pm ET

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A cobalt limit went into effect October 5 in California horse racing following the Office of Administrative Law’s (OAL) approval of a regulatory amendment adopted by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) in August.

Cobalt is an essential trace element naturally occurring at low levels in horses, but is widely believed to be a potential blood-doping agent and horse welfare issue when administered at higher levels. Accordingly, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) has recommended a threshold level for cobalt in racehorses. CHRB Rule 1843.2 now conforms to the RMTC recommendation by establishing an authorized limit of 25ng/ml in blood serum with increasing penalties for cobalt in excess of 50ng/nl.

Virtually all racehorses in California already are in compliance with the new legal limit. The 25ng/ml threshold has been administered as a non-regulatory “house” rule at Cal Expo harness meets since 2014. The CHRB has monitored cobalt in all breeds for over one year –- with more intensive monitoring since July. No thoroughbreds or quarter horses in California have come close to exceeding the 25ng/ml cobalt threshold during that time.

OAL also gave final approval this month to other regulatory amendments concerning the Veterinarian’s List and two anti-inflammatory medications. The amendment to CHRB Rule 1844 lowers the threshold for ketoprofen in blood serum to 2ng/ml and establishes a regulatory threshold of 100pg/ml in blood serum for isofluprodone. These changes complete the CHRB’s implementation of the controlled therapeutic substances section of the National Uniform Medication Program.

CHRB Rule 1588 was amended to make horses on the Veterinarian’s List in other racing jurisdictions ineligible to start in California without prior approval of the stewards under defined situations. The CHRB hopes other racing jurisdictions will reciprocate for horses on the Veterinarian’s List in California.

(CHRB)


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