Photo/IllutrationA board at the paddock showed many racehorses scratched from the race at the Hanshin Racecourse in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, on June 15. (Provided by Nikkan Sports)

  • Photo/Illustraion

In an unprecedented action, the Japan Racing Association on June 15 disqualified more than 150 horses from races at three tracks across Japan after a banned substance, deemed to be a stimulant, was found in feed additive.

The 156 horses were from 28 stables that purchased the additive containing the banned substance.

As a result, the horses were scratched from races in Hakodate in Hokkaido, Tokyo and Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, between June 15 and 16.

“I would like to apologize as a member of the horseracing circles,” said Yuichi Fukunaga, a champion jockey and vice chairman of the club of jockeys in Japan. “Such an incident is unprecedented in the history of horseracing."

The Hakodate Sprint Stakes, a Grade 3 race, had only seven horses entered after six were disqualified, including Danon Smash, a major racehorse on the Japan circuit.

The illegal substance, theobromine, a stimulant, was detected in Green Cal, a vitamin and mineral supplement. Theobromine is one of 104 banned substances.

Green Cal has been around for many years.

But as its components are different each time a new Green Cal is introduced to the market, the additive is required to undergo a mandatory drug test at the Laboratory of Racing Chemistry before being sold.

The current version of Green Cal has been used by stables before the test results were released.

The Japan Racing Association is looking into how the product hit the market before receiving approval from the Laboratory of Racing Chemistry.

The test results were released on the afternoon of June 14, which left the association little time to conduct drug tests for all the horses.

The association disqualified the 156 horses that were scheduled to race this weekend after their 28 stables bought Green Cal, citing the possibility that the animals might have consumed the banned substance.

Horses from such stables will be allowed to race next week if their blood tests negative for theobromine.