Update on ADMC Cases and Regulation of Cocaine Under the ADMC Program


In accordance with the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit’s (HIWU) commitment to fairly and effectively implementing the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program, HIWU is in continuous communication with its contracted laboratories to promote harmonized and consistent testing. Historically, the presence of cocaine, a Banned Substance under the ADMC Program, has been regulated in blood and urine through its metabolite, benzoylecgonine (BZE). This is because cocaine quickly metabolizes in the body, making it difficult to detect through testing. The control of BZE in urine has been harmonized across testing laboratories for years.

Recently, Covered Horses trained by Keri Brion and R. McLane Hendriks tested positive for BZE in blood. While controls in urine for BZE have long been established, no corresponding testing specifications existed for blood. These circumstances prompted HIWU to lift each trainer’s Provisional Suspension and review scientific literature to determine appropriate testing specifications for blood such that it would correspond to existing controls in urine. The goal of this investigation was to ensure that cocaine is regulated consistently regardless of the testing matrix.

Examination of the existing scientific literature failed to identify a testing specification for BZE in blood. However, in consultation with multiple scientific advisors, including laboratory directors, HIWU reviewed laboratory testing data in which BZE was detected in blood and urine samples collected in the same session and was able to determine a testing specification for blood based on this previously unavailable information.

As a result of this investigation, HIWU concluded that the levels of BZE detected in the blood samples for Hendriks’ and Brion’s horses will not be pursued as Adverse Analytical Findings, for they did not exceed this new blood testing specification.
In the interest of fairness to horsemen and program consistency, HIWU has elected to withdraw Brion’s and Hendriks’ cases.

Contact: Alexa Ravit, HIWU Director of Communications & Outreach
(816) 516-9572