“We hear about some pretty exotic stuff,” said Dr. Steven Barker, who directs the testing laboratory at Louisiana State University. “Frog juice — this is exotic.”
Exotic and cruelly dangerous. Horses with serious injuries will run because they cannot feel pain. But let's top it off with the fact that it also amps up the horse. “For a racehorse, it would be beneficial,” Craig W. Stevens, a professor of pharmacology at Oklahoma State University said. “The animal wouldn’t feel pain, and it would have feelings of excitation and euphoria.”
Dr. Barker believes there is a BALCO for horses operating somewhere. “There’s a lot [of dermorphin out there], and that would be an awful lot of frogs that would have to be squeezed,” he said, adding, “There are a lot of unemployed chemists out there.”
“This is a tough issue,” said Edward J. Martin, president of Racing Commissioners International, a trade association for racing regulators. “It’s a cat-and-mouse game. As soon as you call out dermorphin, they will try something else. That is the daily battle that goes on.”
Yep, sound familiar? And of course, racing has its Bud Seligs: “The vast majority of horsemen would never subject their horse to this kind of chemical experimentation,” Petra Hartmann director of direct testing services for Industrial Laboratories in suburban Denver said.
“This whole thing has really taken us by surprise,” said Charles A. Gardiner III, executive director of the Louisiana Racing Commission. “It couldn’t have come at a worse time. We’re fighting back federal intervention. We’re under attack and losing our fan base. Fans believe that the sport is dirty, that there is cheating. And here we have an obvious attempt to cheat.” “A lot of money’s got to be given back,” he added as 3 of 4 horses testing positive recently...finished first. In other words - they hit home runs.
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