Thursday, October 13, 2011

Peeking Into Dutrow's Medicine Cabinet

Oh, surprise. Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. had his license revoked and was barred from racing in New York for 10 years. It appears that the state's Racing and Wagering Board’s ruling was based on two specific incidents that occurred last November: (1) Fastus Cactus failed his drug test and tested positive for butorphanol, and (2) Dutrow apparently enjoys keeping a collection of hypodermic needles containing xylazine handy. Or “xyzaline” if you’re following along at home with your copy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (motto: "Saving money by eliminating turf writers AND copy editors!").

This news raises a number of questions, such as “Why did it take so long to finally bust this guy?” and “What exactly is butorphanol and xylazine? And will those words be included in the National Spelling Bee?”

Of course, we here at Post Parade don’t have all the answers, but when it comes to drugs we might be able to shed a some light. As you are probably aware, we have a sound scientific background as well as Wikipedia at our disposal.

Butorphanol is a synthetic opioid analgesic; a narcotic pain reliever, similar to that of morphine. In humans it can be dispensed as a nasal spray to treat migraine headaches. In veterinary practice or in Dutrow’s stable, butorphanol is used to relieve pain making a horse easier to handle. It is considered five times more effective than morphine in controlling pain, beginning to alleviate pain within 15 minutes and lasting up to as long as 4 hours. It is a class A medication and prohibited for use in competitions. Interestingly enough, butorphanol is also used for sedation when combined with tranquilizers such as xylazine which, coincidentally, Dick Dutrow keeps on his desk.

Xylazine hydrochloride is a non-narcotic compound used as a sedative and muscle relaxant in horses. The drug reduces the respiratory rate to that of natural sleep. It has been successfully used in diagnostic, dental, and orthopedic procedures in horses. Xylazine has also been used to calm fractious animals as well as serve as therapeutic medication for sedation and pain relief following injury or surgery. And an extra tidbit of information: Xylazine is used to shorten musth in bull elephants, however it is extremely important to know that drug dosages vary between Asian and African elephants, so know your species before administering the drug. Also, be sure to “like” Xylazine on Facebook!

Whatever Dutrow’s “medication violation” this time, it’s not his first. His past performances of infractions and violations is damaging to horse racing. There needs to be greater strides to separate pharmacology from horse racing. Even if we have to go through one medicine cabinet at a time.

"Oh, look! Our local newspaper has invented a new drug!"


Triptych said...

Ban all drugs whilst not given for therapeuthic use. Give them dealers (trainer) lifelong bans on racetracks. Horses should run (and win) because they are perfextly trained to top. Not because they are drugged the best. Unfortunately, most of the "modern" trainers do not know anymore, how to train a horse properly - very sad!

Jenn said...

I've just recently found your blog and want to tell you how much I enjoy reading it. It's so funny and so well written. Jay Hovdey better look out, he's got serious competition here!