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Our History

In 1911 racing authorities in Austria were concerned that some horses were competing under the influence of drugs. A Viennese chemist, Dr. Frankel, was engaged to devise a suitable method for the detection of minute quantities of stimulant drugs administered to race horses. After some controversy the suspensions of the trainers were upheld and Dr. Frankel's procedures were vindicated.

The following year, in 1912, Frankel's procedures were applied in France and England. Other European countries in which the administration of drugs to race horses had become a serious problem soon adopted Frankel's methods.

It was common knowledge by 1930 that drugs, including narcotics, were being used widely at racetracks throughout North America to affect the performance of horses in races. An editorial in "The Blood Horse" in 1932 aroused the Federal Bureau of Narcotics to investigate the allegations. These investigations led to over one hundred convictions of owners, trainers, and other personnel at the racetrack.

After visiting the laboratory facilities in Paris and London, Mr. C. E. Morgan and Dr. J. G. Catlett began the first routine collections and analyses in Florida, U.S.A., in late 1933. By 1935, Mr. Morgan had installed testing facilities to cover Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Michigan. Control in other racing states soon followed and the incidence of illegal drugging cases quickly dropped throughout these states.  

In Canada, Dr. G. H. W. Lucas carried out analyses on selected samples form 1934 to 1938. In 1947 testing procedures were established in Sydney, Australia. Drug control in racing has since been applied in many countries throughout the world and in all cases the experiences were similar, a high initial percentage of positive findings which gradually decreased as routine testing was extended.  

In January 1941 several racing chemists met for the first time in Miami Florida, during the annual meeting of the National Association of State Racing Commissioners (now known as the Association of Racing Commissioners International, Inc. or ARCI) to discuss problems of mutual interest. This small nucleus of professional chemists expanded to a group of twenty-one and in November of 1947 met in Chicago to form The Association of Official Racing Chemists or AORC.