KENNETT SQUARE, Pa.--The ability of trainers using equine gene therapy to greatly improve the performances of their horses is apparently getting closer, according to Mary Robertson of New Bolton Center.
The Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association donated $300,000 to New Bolton Center to study equine gene doping, and Robertson addressed the Annual Meeting at the Kennett Square Golf Club on May 22, reporting on the use of that money.
"Gene doping is taking a gene and trying to manipulate it to make a better horse," said Robertson. "The technology has accelerated very quickly. We know it works, and it's threatening to the industry."
"We took the money PHBA gave us (for use in research), and we were able to develop a method whereby we can go out in the field and collect samples and we can also collect samples from tracks," said Robertson."We have developed a method to detect the vehicle that can inject the material into a cell. It's been six months since we received the donation, and things are moving quickly."
"People are going to start doping horses, and they can change the performance of a horse, perhaps indefinitely, unless we find a way to detect it," said PHBA President Roger Legg.
LEGG ANNOUNCED that the PHBA's new website is almost done and should be up and running in 60 to 90 days.
The new website will be user friendly and will allow people to register their memberships and register foals.
Breeders awards have been increased for Pa-bred and Pa-sired maidens from 40 percent to 50 percent.
Foals production is gradually increasing in Pennsylvania, and there was a 29 percent increase in Pa-bred foal registration with the Jockey Club last year.
"People are beginning to come into the state and breed," said Legg. "There were 11 new stallions entered at stud in 2019. People are beginning to realize Pennsylvania is a good place to breed horses.