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Columbia's lawyers called a halt to the prank when the publicity office was deluged with calls from students requesting admission forms. Before the flacks folded their tent, however, they fired off one more release. This one said that Cadwallader. "in the spirit of international friendship," had offered an athletic scholarship to Mu (no other name, just Mu), a 7' center from the People's Republic of China.
Mu, the athletic director was quoted as saying, "would add a new dimension to the Cadwallader attack" and "help clog up the middle."
The illegal drug of the moment in horse racing is Sublimaze, a chemical compound created to alleviate postoperative pain. In humans Sublimaze not only eases pain, it also produces pronounced euphoria. When rumors reached the back-stretch that it would do the same for horses, enabling the lame to run, and, more important, making them feel like racing, the rush to the drug was on.
As the use of Sublimaze increased, scientists at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine set to work figuring out ways to detect it. Dr. George Maylin, director of the school's drug-testing and research program, said last week, "A test for Sublimaze has been in existence for two years, but it took years and thousands of dollars to figure out a test that would stand up in a court of law."
The search ended last September. A definitive test for Sublimaze has already resulted in the suspension of several trainers at tracks across the country. A byproduct of Cornell's research was the surprising news that Sublimaze is not all it was cracked up to be. At the doses rumored to be used, the analgesic effects of the drug, said Maylin, "are potent in humans, markedly less so in horses."
No sooner does Cornell find a test that discourages the use of one drug, however, than another one pops up. It seems to be the nature of the racing business. Maylin and other concerned horse-industry officials believe that the solution lies in trackside labs where samples can be tested before as well as after a race. Not only would the labs act as visible deterrents, Maylin says, but also horses that test positive could be disqualified before they are raced.
"Because the results of the test [taken two hours before the race] would be available while the animal was in a secure area," Maylin says, "the animal could be isolated and resampled for confirmatory or independent testing if necessary."
The facilities and the experts to operate them are available. The money can be found. What is needed to maintain the integrity of the sport and the goodwill of the betting fan is the cooperation of the nation's tracks.