Millions of eyes will be watching and millions of dollars will be on the line in Louisville, Kentucky this Saturday for the Kentucky Derby. An Iowa laboratory is helping ensure that the results of the race are clean. Iowa State University’s Racing Chemistry Program began in 1986 after horse racing was introduced in Iowa, and a short time later director Walter Hyde expanded the program to other states.
Hyde says the number horses and financial support with Iowa testing only didn’t allow them to do everything they wanted to do, so he says the program was expanded to supplement the Iowa testing. The lab eventually picked up the first leg in the so-called Triple Crown of horse racing. He says they started doing Kentucky tests six years, ago, and while the Kentucky Derby and the Oaks races are the most famous, they do all the Kentucky testing year-round.
Hyde says they also test the horses for Virginia, New Mexico and the Caribbean nations of Trinidad and Tobago. Hyde says they look for any type of drug that affects the performance of the animal, eighter to speed it up, or slow it down. Hyde says they are always looking for something some might think they can’t find.
"There is a very small percentage of folks in any endeavor that try to get away with whatever they can get away with," Hyde says. He says it’s unfortunate those people try to spoil things for others.
Hyde and his staff of 18 to 20 in the racing chemistry program test about 35-thousand samples each year