KENNETT SQUARE, Pa.--The PHBA announced that it is working to find a new way of testing for drugs in racehorses during its annual meeting on May 23 at the Kennett Square Golf Club.
Deanna Manfredii, a director of the PHBA, outlined a bold new approach to finding drugs in horses.
"Integrity is a big issue in horse racing," said Manfredo. "Now there are many ways of drugging horses that we can't test for.
"We need more basic research into horses. We need to identify equine bio markers so we can know if a horse is outside those parameters."
THE PHBA plans to provide money to New Bolton to study bio markers in horses.
"This is a global problem," said Manfredi. "Bio markers will show how far outside a normal hors's profile a tested horse is. We're hoping eventually to be able to move to testing before a race. Then if a horse's bio marker is at 3,000, and the normal is 1,000, he's not racing, because there's no way a horse has those numbers from what nature gave him."
Obviously, this kind of testing is in the fairly far off future, but it's to the PHBA's credit that it is working to fund this kind of study.
PHBA PRESIDENT Roger Legg said during the meeting that other things the Association is working on include enhancing its website, allowing breeders to do online registrations, marketing and putting out a stallion and farms directory.
The PHBA is increasing breeders' awards for maiden Pa.-breds by a stallion standing in Pennsylvania from 40 percent to 50 percent and for maiden Pa-breds by a stallion standing outside Pennsylvania from 20 percent to 25 percent.
Legg said that Pennsylvania has 400 to 500 restricted races a year and that no other state has that many, making it worthwhile to breed in Pennsylvania.
"The racing act has been amended," said Legg. "We have a lock box now. The state had been taking money from racing, and that take-away had been going up every year. Last year the state legislature amended the act so that the state cannot take more than $30 million, and if it takes more the state will have to repay all the money the PHBA lost. That means we're safe from predatory legislatures."
Legg said that it appears that breeding in Pennsylvania is on the upswing.
"One stallion standing at Northview got as many as 100 mares last year, and that's a lot for Pennsylvania," said Legg. "Pa-breds won 43 stakes outside of Pennsylvania, led by Unique Bella, Mor Spirit and Finest City. It's the second year in a row that a Pa-bred won an Eclipse Award, with Unique Bella winning in 2017 and Finest City winning in 2016."