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Ohio commission's Schmitz comments on cobalt

April 01, 2015

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Due to unnaturally high levels of Cobalt in plasma that have been detected by the Ohio State Racing Commission (OSRC) in both Standardbred and Thoroughbred random post-race tests, the OSRC is strongly suggesting that horsemen and veterinarians become vigilant in monitoring the Cobalt in plasma levels in their racehorses, ensuring that those levels are below 25 parts per billion.
"We believe because high levels of Cobalt are a potentially fatal substance and detrimental both to the equine athlete and to racing, that this is an issue that simply cannot wait for other agencies to act,” OSRC chairman Robert K. Schmitz acknowledged.
"We want to protect the health of the horses themselves as well as the integrity of racing here in Ohio and ensure that all horses participate on a level playing field. Thus, we felt obligated to initiate Cobalt testing as quickly as possible.”
Chairman Schmitz stressed that horsemen need to work closely with their veterinarians in regards to the supplements administered to their equine athletes -- both Standardbred and Thoroughbred -- to ensure Cobalt levels are well below25 ppb.
According to a combined study by the University of California-Davis and University of Kentucky, horses have a naturally-occurring average Cobalt level of 5.8 ppb (Standardbred), and 2.39 ppb (Thoroughbred) or less in their system.
"We need to ensure that pari-mutuel racing in the state of Ohio is conducted with the highest standards of integrity,” Schmitz offered. "Our continued testing for Cobalt in plasma will also ensure that we are protecting the health and welfare of our Standardbred and Thoroughbred racehorses.” (OSRC)
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