The New York Times reports that the latest performance-enhancing potion to hit racetrack backsides is a substance called dermorphin, found in the skin of South American tree frogs.
Used as a pain suppressant that also creates “feelings of excitation and euphoria,” the substance is thought to incite horses to run faster and have painkilling properties more powerful than morphine. After rumors of the substance recently began circulating, a lab in Denver devised a way to test for it, after which it was discovered in more than 30 horses from four states.
“Frog juice” might be the latest illegal substance to tarnish horse racing’s image, but it probably won’t be the last.
“This is a tough issue,” said Edward J. Martin, president of Racing Commissioners International, a trade association for racing regulators, told the New York Times. “It’s a cat-and-mouse game. As soon as you call out dermorphin, they will try something else. That is the daily battle that goes on.”
Photo: ‘Phyllomedusa sauvagei,’ also known as the Waxy Monkey Tree Frog. Wikimedia Commons.