Dr. Don Catlin, who for more than a quarter century has been a leader in the battle against the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports, will serve as a consultant to the United States Trotting Association's Medication Advisory Committee, announced USTA President Phil Langley on Friday.
"The USTA is very serious about pointing research towards finding the performance enhancing drugs that so far have eluded detection because no one is sure what they are” said Langley in making the announcement. "Dr. Catlin is perhaps the world's leading expert on what is thought to be out there and his advice will help immeasurably. He has played a huge role in cleaning up the Olympics and with his help maybe we can get an even playing field for harness racing."
In 1982, Dr. Catlin founded the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, the first anti-doping lab in the U.S. and grew it into the world's largest testing facility for performance-enhancing drugs.
"The Thoroughbred industry came to me a number of years ago because they had a concern about public perception,” said Dr. Catlin. "Well, not knowing about racing, I was very careful and cautious. After doing research and talking to people, I realized human doping was the same as it was with horses. Some of what I learned there will be able to be applied to the horses in harness racing.”
At the UCLA Olympic Lab, Dr. Catlin oversaw the drug testing for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, the 1994 Soccer World Cup and the testing for anabolic agents at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.
In addition to working with the U.S. Olympic Committee, the lab also performed the testing and provided drug education for the National Football League, NCAA and minor league baseball.
His research has identified numerous designer steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs used to try to avoid detection. Currently, he is working on research and the development of testing at the non-profit Anti-Doping Research, Inc. in Los Angeles.
Catlin will work with current USTA Medication Committee members that include eminent researchers Dr. George Maylin and Dr. Thomas Tobin; practicing veterinarians Dr. Jay Baldwin, Dr. Janet Durso, Dr. William Moffett and Dr. Robert Schwartz; trainers Mark Ford, Sam Beegle, Ray Schnittker and David McCaffrey; racing commissioners Bob Schmitz and Alan Leavitt; attorneys Joe Faraldo and Chris Wittstruck; racing investigator Brice Cote; Hambletonian Society President and CEO Tom Charters; and Phil Langley, Mike Tanner, and T.C. Lane from the USTA.
The USTA has already been working with the Pennsylvania horsemen groups to commission Dr. Larry Soma and Dr. Mary Robinson to conduct research on items like EPO, extracorporeal shock wave therapy and some of the unknown drugs that most threaten the integrity of harness racing. Their research also is pursuing alternatives to clenbuterol and the adjustment of threshold levels that can be utilized with Standardbreds.
In addition to currently serving as Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Dr. Catlin is also the chairman of the Equine Drug Research Institute's Scientific Advisory Committee, a member of the Federation Equestre Internationale Commission on Equine Anti-Doping & Medication, and a longtime member of the International Olympic Committee Medical Commission. (By Dan Leary/USTA)