The American Graded Stakes Committee provides owners and breeders of Thoroughbred horses with a reliable guide to the relative quality of bloodstock by identifying those races in the United States that have consistently attracted the highest quality competition. The Committee meets annually to evaluate and affirm the relative quality of these races, and issues its collective opinion in the form of ranked status assignments: Grade I, Grade II, Grade III, and Listed with Grade I being the highest. Horses winning these races may reliably be considered as superior racing stock, and the breeding stock producing them as superior breeding stock.
It is the belief of the American Graded Stakes Committee and the trustees of Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA) that the integrity of these status assignments is compromised if horses are competing under the influence of prohibited substances. The Committee owes it to the members of TOBA, sales companies, prospective buyers and sellers, fans, and international organizations that rely on these status assignments to ensure that they are a true representation of quality based solely on athletic ability.
Compliance with the AGS Drug Testing Protocol is a condition of a race maintaining its eligibility for grading. The status designated by the Committee may be revoked at any time, before or after a given race, if the Committee, in its sole discretion, determines that the AGS Drug Testing Protocol was not followed.
Graded Stakes Pre-Race Alkalinizing Agents Analysis
The Committee requires testing for alkalinizing agents be performed on all of the horses participating in a graded or listed stakes race. This analysis must be performed on blood samples collected pre-race as cited in the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium s best practices recommendation. The pre-race timing and method of testing will be determined by each jurisdiction. A threshold of 37 millimoles of total carbon dioxide per liter of plasma/serum should be applied, plus any measurement uncertainty. If base excess testing is performed, a threshold of 10.4 millimoles per liter of plasma/serum should be applied if no Salix is administered and 12.4 millimoles per liter of plasma if Salix is administered.
Graded Stakes Post-Race Sample Analysis
As a means to ensure the integrity of the status assigned to races, the Committee requires extensive analytical testing on samples collected from horses participating in graded and listed stakes races. This additional analysis must be performed on samples from those horses routinely selected by the state stewards for post-race testing. The drugs and information on the accompanying list are hereby incorporated by reference and made a part of the AGS Drug Testing Protocol ( Drug Testing List ).
The drugs on the Drug Testing List are separated into two categories: Mandatory and Optional . In total, samples must be tested for detection of 214 drugs. For drugs that are labeled as Mandatory, testing is required to be performed to detect those drugs or their metabolites. If a drug is known to be excreted in the urine as a metabolite, then testing must be done to detect the metabolite. For those drugs labeled as Optional, laboratories must select, at their discretion, from the Optional list the number of drugs indicated in the chart below:
The 214 drugs to be tested for detection are broken down as follows:
For each Mandatory drug, the requisite limit of detection is identified on the Drug Testing List as the Minimum Performance Standard. Those values denoted with an asterisk (*) are the threshold levels recommended by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. The testing must be performed to at least the levels indicated on the Drug Testing List. There are no suggested minimum performance standards listed for Optional drugs, where testing levels are left to the discretion of individual commissions and their laboratories. The Committee does not expect a commission or laboratory to alter their normal limit of detection for these Optional drugs, but a commission or laboratory is required to alter the normal limit of detection for Mandatory drugs to the Minimum Performance Standard set forth on the Drug Testing List.
If a state’s regulations or a race track s house rules require a more stringent standard than that set forth in the AGS Drug Testing Protocol, the Committee will not require additional testing to the Committee s prescribed standards as set forth in the AGS Drug Testing Protocol. It is not the intent of the Committee to alter an individual state s medication rules with respect to acceptable levels of drugs, but merely to ensure that the highest possible level of testing is performed on samples from graded and listed stakes. The concentration at which to initiate administrative action will ultimately depend on individual state regulatory and statutory language or policies.
The Committee encourages race tracks to notify participants of the AGS Drug Testing Protocol by including a reference to the AGS Drug Testing Protocol in entry forms and condition books, and advising participants where they can obtain a copy of the AGS Drug Testing Protocol. The AGS Drug Testing Protocol should also be made available by the state racing commission. The AGS Drug Testing Protocol is accessible online at www.toba.org. Regardless of state regulations with respect to drug testing in Thoroughbred racing, the AGS Drug Testing Protocol must be performed in order for a race to be eligible to keep and maintain its graded or listed status.
The Committee will require a letter each year from the state racing commission of each state where a graded or listed stakes race is run, affirming that the testing performed on horses from each graded and listed stakes race has met or exceeds the AGS Drug Testing Protocol requirements. The letters must be submitted to the Committee by each state racing commission prior to the Committee s annual grading session in late November/early December, so the Committee is assured that the AGS Drug Testing Protocol requirements have been met. TOBA will provide a sample letter. The completion of the testing as required by the AGS Drug Testing Protocol is a condition of a race maintaining its status and status eligibility.