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Tuesday, June 15, 2021
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PHBA funds further new tests into gene doping in horses

KENNETT SQUARE, Pa.--Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association President Gregory Newell announced at the annual meeting at the Kennett Square Golf Club that the $300,000 donated to New Bolton Center for research on gene doping in horses had gone even farther than anyone had thought it would.

Brian SanfratelloBrian SanfratelloIn a press release provided at the meeting, Penn Vet researchers said that a new test can detect the presence of gene doping.

Researchers have successfully developed a new test to systematically detect the local administration of illicit, gene doping therapies.

The findings from the study are a significant breakthrough in the collective fight to advance the welfare and integrity of sport for both horses and humans.

"For the first time, we have demonstrated that a polymerase chain reaction test, known as a PCR test, performed on a blood sample can detect the local administration of a gene therapy into the joint of the horse," said Mary Robinson, the director of the Equine Pharmacology Laboratory at Penn Vet's New Bolton Center. "While this test is currently limited in that it can only detect a specific gene therapy, it provides proof of concept that a gene therapy administered into the joint can be detected in a blood sample in a manner that is quick, convenient and consistent with our long-term goal of deploying pre-race testing in the future."


NEWELL also said the PHBA is actively supporting the retraining of race horses after their career at the track is over, and that there is now a committee working on closing the loopholes through which horses fall through the cracks and are sent to slaughter.

After a year of restricted racing due to Covid, the purses at Pennsylvania Day at the Races are back up to $1  million, and spectators will be allowed at the track.

Executive Secretary Brian Sanfratello said that, at one of the meetings in Harrisburg that he attends to further the aims of PHBA, he met with member of the House of Representative.

The average age was 28, he said, so they don't know the history of PHBA or what it stands for.

Gov. Wolf again brought up a bill to take money from the horse racing fund, and PHBA works with the members of Congress in Harrisburg to show the benefits of horse breeding and racing in the state.

To date, Gov. Wolf's attempts to raid the racing fund have been unsuccessful, largely due to PHBA''s work with Congress.


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