Friday, December 19, 2008

Aranesp - Ten Years and $40k

The EPO drug has reared its ugly head again.

Investigators had received information that a number of prescriptions were being written for the drug Aranesp®, and were being filled at a Windsor area pharmacy. Darbepoetin-alfa is a brand name form of darbepoetin-alfa.

As a result of the information, out-of-competition testing was conducted on horses trained by Daniel McFadden. The tests confirmed the presence of erythropeietin/ darbepoetin-alfa in blood samples taken from two horses at the relevant time. Scott McFadden is the owner of the horses.

This is tough stuff, but we have to commend the investigators for this. In racing, like in cycling, it is virtually impossible to catch EPO/DPO in systems, because of timing issues. It is like finding a needle in a haystack.

Checking the horses in question racelines, they are interesting. Who knows if this story is 100% as reported (horseman and owners have appeals to take care of this, and we have not heard about an appeal yet), but here is the scoop in horse performance:

The first horse mentioned, Reason to Celebrate, was trained by another trainer earlier in 2008. His 2008 lines show a win in 200.4, and a fastest time of 159. In the new barn he did better. He won his first start, then requalified in 157.3. Two starts before he was a judges scratch he was second by a nose in 155.4.

The second horse, Dr. Sharkey had a poor 2007, spending most of it in another barn. He was 0 for 16. About May of this year the horse found himself. He won 4 races in 8 starts, and took a lifetime mark of 154.4. He has won 6 races in 33 starts this year.

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