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State Horse Racing Commission Approves Funding to Develop Tests to Detect Gene-doping in Race Horses

Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Horseracing Commission unanimously approved $300,000 in funding to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s New Bolton Center Equine Pharmacology Laboratory to research genetic markers that will indicate when a horse has been illegally genetically modified to enhance performance. Funding was approved at the commission’s May 31 meeting.

The Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association proposed funding the research with an allocation from its portion of the State Horseracing Fund, which is managed by the commission and typically used for enhanced breeder incentives.

“This funding will help Pennsylvania’s horseracing industry stay ahead of those who would undermine its integrity,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, who sits on the commission. “It falls squarely within the purpose of the State Horseracing Fund to find owners and breeders who gain unfair advantage by illegally manipulating their horses’ genetics. Eliminating bad actors serves as an incentive to those who run a clean race and treat their animals ethically.”

PennVet’s New Bolton Center is one of three labs making up the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System, or PADLS, a partnership funded by the commonwealth with a mission of controlling and eradicating livestock and poultry diseases in Pennsylvania. Funding will enable the lab to establish a bank of genetic samples from healthy horses, or equine biomarkers. This bank will aid in the research to develop pre- and post-race blood tests to determine markers for doping.

For more information on the State Horseracing Commission or PADLS, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers - 717.783.2628

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