Waxy Monkey Tree Frog. By Afulki on Flickriver.

The waxy monkey tree frog and drugging of racehorses

Waxy Monkey Tree Frog. By Afulki on Flickriver.
Waxy Monkey Tree Frog. By Afulki on Flickriver.

Just when you think you have heard every conceivable way someone can drug racehorses, this one takes the frog — the waxy monkey tree frog, for instance. I mean, really, come on folks.

The Blood-Horse reports (which I got via TheHorse.com):

Dermorphin, a fluid obtained from certain South American frogs, is a hepta-peptide that is a natural opiate more potent than morphine but less likely to produce addiction; it can kill pain, stimulate running, and suppress the feeling of exhaustion after exercise, according to the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA).

The NHBPA said the organization has “zero tolerance” for trainers who use illegal Class 1 and 2 substances. Dermorphin is a Class 1 drug under the classification of the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

You have to admit, dermorphin is pretty much a one-stop-shop extra-strong wonder drug for souping up your racehorse. Too bad it isn’t an anti-bleeder too. How simple that would make it all. And your racehorse would be less likely to need rehab once it’s all over too. What a bonus.

In the meantime, will someone please demonstrate to me what “zero tolerance” looks like in American horse racing.

Not to be outdone, the nervous (I mean conscientious) Kentucky Horse Racing Commission began testing in late June when traces of dermorphin were found in the bloodstreams of 30 horses who raced in Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma. They had to do a bit of backtracking with the samples, but are happy to announce that no dermorphin was found in the Kentucky Derby / Oaks runners they checked out. Oh, good.

What about the trainers in Louisiana though? The Louisiana Racing Commission suspended nine of them for six months, after 11 racehorses tested positive for dermorphin. The trainers pretty much blamed the vets, one even claiming he was told by the doc it was a magic herb or something and they can’t control the vets put in the syringe, right? It cost $103 a pop too. Wow, that’s some herb. Wonder who makes it, and how many frogs are sacrificed on the altar of race winners.

I'll Have Another takes a bath. Google image.
I’ll Have Another takes a bath; heads to stud duty in Japan in August. Google image.

While we are on drugging racehorses, how about I’ll Have Another and the latest fallout regarding his chronically medicated Triple Crown journey (see accusation here and denial here). No harm, no foul his connections say, because all the medications and therapies he was given, well they were strictly routine so what’s the fuss? Imagine O’Neill let loose with some of that dermorphin.

I feel so sad about I’ll Have Another though. He ran his heart out, and was then more suddenly than Susan sold off to stud duty oblivion in Japan. I pray he has a “get out of slaughter” card in case he doesn’t make it, because when the money’s in the bank he’ll likely be like yesterday’s news, gone and forgotten.

Remember Ferdinand. Remember I’ll Have Another.

3 thoughts on “The waxy monkey tree frog and drugging of racehorses”

  1. It sounds crazy, but I hate to think of those poor innocent frogs getting needles poked into them while they are still alive OR killed than extracted. The TB industry has an “absolute trainer rule.” That rule has been up help in every case of doping when the trainer proclaims innocence such as “herb,” or I’m Todd Pletchers case when he was caught with morphine positives “in the feed,” “in the air.” The pattern is the attorney who defends cheaters. They are USUALLY TB horse owners themselves and USUALLY own the very horses that have tested positive for a drug. Now if that isn’t alleged race fixing I don’t know what else is (not to mention the $$$$$ a TB owner/attorney would make betting on their horse knowing it had a competitive edge and not worrying about the drug positive if their trainer gets caught because they can defend! All this talk, all these government meetings, countless horse breakdowns and NOTHING has changed!!!


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