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Texas Racing Commission Suspends Hair Drug Testing

Hair testing in racehorses began last May in Texas.

Racing in Texas at Sam Houston Race Park

Racing in Texas at Sam Houston Race Park

Coady Photography

The Texas Racing Commission has suspended hair testing of racehorses in the state, the regulator announced Jan. 14.

Amy Cook, executive director of the TRC, wrote in an email to BloodHorse that the move was "a response to the concerns raised by Texas Horsemen's Partnership that needed to be addressed." She noted that "specifically, the way the commission implemented the hair testing procedure in May 2021 did not provide adequate notice and transparent procedures to participants."

Along with existing blood and urine testing, some tracks, organizations, and regulators have added hair testing in recent years. In Texas, shortly after hair testing began last May, the Sam Houston Futurity for Quarter Horses was run as a non-wagering event after the majority of the 10 finalists failed hair tests for either albuterol or clenbuterol.

Cook wrote that the suspension is "in effect until we can call a meeting of our Commission Safety and Health Committee (scheduling that now) to provide an opportunity to build consensus with all stakeholders."

Asked about whether hair testing had been successful in Texas, Cook noted she did not have specific numbers related to how many positives came from hair relative to blood and urine. She wrote that such data would be a "good aspect to consider when we address our procedures in the implementation of the test."