Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chocolate Treats Can Land Racehorse Trainers In Trouble

Date:
May 1, 1998
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
Chocolate may be a harmless treat for humans, but it could land a competitive racehorse into trouble with officials.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Chocolate may be a harmless treat for humans, but it could land a competitive racehorse into trouble with officials.

Related Articles


Researchers at Ohio State University found that three horses fed a vending-pack of M&M’sŪ chocolate-coated peanuts every day for eight days showed detectable concentrations of the stimulants caffeine and theobromine -- substances that are banned for horses that compete in races.

“We would advise that trainers avoid feeding chocolate to racehorses,” said Richard Sams, professor of veterinary medicine at Ohio State.

Caffeine and theobromine are banned for racehorses because they have been thought to give horses a competitive edge in races. Trainers whose horses test positive for these substances can lose their winnings and have their horse disqualified.

However, Sams said he doubts the amounts of caffeine and theobromine found in the horses he tested would have given theanimals a real advantage over other horses.

Sams began the research, which was published recently in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, after a Florida racehorse trainer sent a horse’s urine sample to Ohio State for testing when another lab found caffeine in the sample. Sams said the trainer questioned if the M&M’sŪ he fed the horse caused the positive findings.

The chocolate in a vending machine bag of peanut M&M’sŪ contains six milligrams of caffeine and about 50 milligrams of theobromine. Both substances stay in a horse’s system longer than a human’s.

“This study helped us learn the way horses eliminate drugs, and by extension the way all animals eliminate drugs,” Sams said.

While caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant in horses, as it is in humans, it would take several grams of caffeine to affect the performance of a 1,000-pound racehorse, according to Sams.

Sams and Timothy Dyke, a senior researcher in veterinary medicine, fed three mares each 20 peanut M&M’sŪ -- the average amount found in a vending-machine pack -- on a daily basis. This allowed the researchers to determine accurate concentrations of both caffeine and theobromine in the horses.

Urine samples taken five to six hours after eating M&M’sŪ on the eighth day of feeding showed caffeine concentrations around 0.05 parts per million and theobromine concentrations at about 9.5 parts per million, enough to show up using current testing methods and enough to disqualify a horse.

“Caffeine and theobromine in these concentrations probably do not physically affect horses,” Sams said. Four days later, any trace of caffeine was undetectable while theobromine concentrations were extremely low -- about 0.75 parts per million.

The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI), the association for many regulatory agencies for horse racing in the United States, classifies caffeine as one of the drugs that has the greatest likelihood of affecting performance.

“Virtually every drug is prohibited under the rules,” Sams said. “The ARCI drug classification system gives officials who generally have little knowledge of pharmacology some guidance as to what kind of penalties to impose.

“Yet racing regulators are beginning to realize horse racing is not well-served by issuing positive reports for drugs that are present in concentrations that can’t reasonably be expected to affect performance in any way,” he added.

While officials are gaining knowledge about drug concentrations and becoming more comfortable with making decisions about penalties, the rule remains that any foreign substance in a sample collected from a horse is a violation.

“Although the Florida trainer was eventually exonerated, he may have spent a few thousand dollars on testing,” Sams said. “There’s no guarantee that another racing commission won’t penalize someone for the same kind of infraction.”

This study was funded by the Ohio State Racing Commission and a private individual.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Chocolate Treats Can Land Racehorse Trainers In Trouble." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980501082822.htm>.
Ohio State University. (1998, May 1). Chocolate Treats Can Land Racehorse Trainers In Trouble. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980501082822.htm
Ohio State University. "Chocolate Treats Can Land Racehorse Trainers In Trouble." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980501082822.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) — Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) — One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goofy Dinosaur Blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

Goofy Dinosaur Blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — A collection of dinosaur bones reveal a creature that is far more weird and goofy-looking than scientists originally thought when they found just the arm bones nearly 50 years ago, according to a new report in the journal Nature. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins