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Minutes of Public Meeting - June 27, 2016

Commission Members Present:

John P. McDaniel, Chairman
Tammy Lafferty
David Hayden
Mary Louise Preis
Tom Winebrener
Dr. Thomas Bowman
Bruce Quade
Ernest Grecco

Members Absent:
Charles Tildon

Staff Present Representing the Maryland Racing Commission:

J. Michael Hopkins

Executive Director
Eric B. London
Assistant Attorney General

In accordance with the Notice of Public Meeting, as required by §3-302, General Provisions Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, the Maryland Racing Commission (“Commission”) met in open session on June 27, 2016, commencing at 1:00 p.m. via a conference call of which notice of the public meeting was posted on the Maryland Racing Commission’s website and the dial in number was provided. Chairman John McDaniel called the meeting to order.


Chairman John McDaniel commented that the sole purpose of the meeting was to discuss the recent number of Glaucine positives reported by Truesdail Laboratories and asked the Executive Director to provide the information obtained through an investigation into these matters.

Executive Director J. Michael Hopkins reported that on April 14, 2016, the Maryland Racing Commission was notified by Truesdail Laboratories that two samples taken from horses that participated at Rosecroft Raceway and one sample taken from a horse that participated at Laurel Park had tested positive for Glaucine. Split samples (one of the Rosecroft positives and the Laurel Park positive) were sent out for confirmatory testing, which subsequently confirmed the presence of Glaucine in both samples. In other racing jurisdictions, Glaucine had been found in samples where a certain kind of wood shavings had been used for bedding. With the reported information, the Maryland Racing Commission had samples of the bedding used at both Laurel Park and Rosecroft sent to Truesdail Laboratories for analysis. Truesadail reported that all the bedding samples contained Glaucine.

Between April 26, 2016 and May 9, 2016, the Maryland Racing Commission was notified by Truesdail Laboratories of an additional 8 positive findings for Glaucine from horses that participated at Laurel Park. Samples of the bedding used by these horses as well as samples from the supplier of the bedding were sent to Truesdail Laboratories for analysis, which confirmed the presence of Glaucine. As a result of the positive testing being found for horses being trained by nine different trainers and within a short period of time, the Maryland Racing Commission did not take administrative action on any of these positive test until a further investigation could be conducted.

In a cooperative effort between the Maryland Racing Commission and Truesdail Laboratories, Truesdail researched the possible cause for these findings and found that Glaucine could be found in the Tulip Poplar tree, which was confirmed to be in the bedding the trainers used for the horses in question. Through further investigation, Truesdail reported that the Glaucine found in the Tulip Poplar tree contained up to three different alkaloids, (asimilobine, liriodenine or protopine), in addition to the Glaucine. After reanalyzing the horse samples and the bedding samples reported to contain Glaucine, Truesdail found presence of one or more of the three alkaloids in each sample.

To further their investigation, Truesdail Laboratories obtained a sample of Yellow Horned Poppy Herbal extract from the United Kingdom, which is reported to contain Glaucine. Truesdail analyzed the herbal extract and found that it did contain Glaucine and did not contain any of the three alkaloids found in the bedding samples or samples taken from the horses’ reported positives. Based on this finding, Truesdail reported that it may be concluded that if a blood or urine sample contains both Glaucine and one or more of the Poplar Tree alkaloids, then most likely the Glaucine positive is due to an environmental source. To complement the research performed by Dr. Anthony Fontana, Technical Director of Truesdail Laboratories, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium has requested its Scientific Advisory Committee, of which Anthony Fontana is a member, to further review the Glaucine issue.

As the Truesdail Laboratory believes the positives are due to an environmental source, the Commission may want to consider not taking administrative action against trainers or owners that tested positive for Glaucine, if the sample contains one or more of the three identified alkaloids.

On June 15, 2016, the Delaware Racing Commission addressed the same Glaucine issue and concluded that it would not take any administrative action against a trainer or owner whose horse tested positive for Glaucine and had one or more of the three alkaloids present in the same sample.

Commissioner Tom Winebrenner asked if it was possible for a trainer to administer glaucine and also administer one of the three alkaloids to cover up a glaucine administration. J. Michael Hopkins responded that he did not know, but he had been advised by Truesdail that the purchase of the alkaloids has been difficult. Commissioner Tammy Lafferty made a motion to hold harmless the trainers in the glaucine cases, Commissioner Tom Bowman seconded the motion and the motion unanimously passed. Going forward, Commissioner Mary Louise Preis made a motion that in the future any glaucine positive reported would not be pursued with any administrative action being taken provided the sample contained at least one of the three alkaloids, Commissioner David Hayden seconded the motion. Commissioner Bowman asked the motion be amended to include a statement that would not bind the Commission to the current research and that the Commission would be able to amend its position pending new research and recommendations. The Commission accepted the amendment and unanimously approved the motion. Alan Forman, representing the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association told the Commission that their decision was appropriate and thanked them for resolving this issue.

Having nothing further, Chairman John McDaniel adjourned the meeting.

J. Michael Hopkins
Executive Director