A two-year-old black Labrador, Shadow is New Jersey’s first-ever K-9 horse racing investigator, and is already proving to be a valuable tool in deterring licensees who might seek a competitive or wagering advantage by drugging race horses.
The Racing Commission has put Shadow on regular patrol at New Jersey racetracks, including Monmouth Park, Freehold Raceway and the New Meadowlands Racetrack. Earlier this year, Shadow made his first find, detecting the presence of a prohibited substance.
“A big part of the job for any regulatory and enforcement agency is to stay one step ahead of those who would seek to profit by breaking our laws and rules,” Grewal said. “Shadow is an incredible asset in that respect, because cheaters in horse racing can’t cheat without using prohibited substances, and he is specifically trained to sniff them out. Shadow is helping not only to protect horses, but to preserve the integrity of the horse racing industry throughout our state.”
Racing Commission Executive Director Judith A. Nason credits Shadow with having “vastly increased the Racing Commission’s investigatory ability,” and with helping to send a strong cautionary message to would-be horse dopers.
“One very important purpose of Shadow is to deter trainers or owners from even the thought of giving a prohibited substance to a horse,” said Nason.
“We believe Shadow will prove to be an efficient, cost-effective tool in catching and penalizing licensees who cheat,” Nason said. “The Racing Commission already has four human investigators. That’s eight boots on the ground. By adding Shadow, we now have 12 boots on the ground – although four of them are paws.”
For investigative reasons, Nason will not disclose details concerning what substances Shadow is able to detect. However, she confirms that he is trained to find a host of banned chemicals known to be used by cheaters, as well as related paraphernalia such as syringes and hypodermic needles.
“The people hiding drugs and needles have always had an intrinsic advantage, because it’s easier to conceal these things than to locate them,” said Nason. “But Shadow could turn out to be a true game-changer. Not only can he search a lot of territory very quickly, he can also detect banned substances in hiding places where we humans might not find them.”
Credit: Horse Racing Nation