stock photo by U.S. Fotografie
Experts say a synthetic opioid drug, as potent as morphine, was detected in post-race samples taken from horses in New York. The Association of Racing Commissioners International has put the world’s racing regulatory agencies on notice regarding the findings by the New York Equine Drug Testing Program.
The association says this is the first time AH-7921 has been detected by a racing lab and there is no legitimate reason for the drug to be present in a horse. The samples were taken from horses that recently ran at Belmont Park.
The New York State Gaming Commission indefinitely suspended Thoroughbred trainer Roy Sedlacek as a result of the findings. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday regarding the matter after two of his horses tested positive for the drug.
Officials said the hearing “may result in the imposition of any legally available penalty including a license suspension or revocation and a fine not to exceed $25,000.”
The drug is one of the novel psychoactive substances (NPS) that continue to emerge on the designer drug market, according to the association. While potent like morphine, research shows AH-7921’s core molecular structures do not resemble morphine or fentanyl which have been detected in the past by racing regulatory labs.
Novel psychoactive drugs are believed to be compounded in order to avoid detection by human testing labs.