Despite it’s lofty sobriquet as “The Sport of Kings,” (or perhaps because of it) horse racing has a litany of shady characters surrounding it eager to find any edge possible to make the horses run faster. First there were snake vemon milkshakes but the latest nefarious tactic being used comes from a small South American amphibian, the waxy monkey tree frog.
The frog produces a powerful painkiller known as dermorphin from its skin as a protective mechanism but horses in Louisana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and possibly Texas have all recently tested positive for the substance and the respective trainers are all expected to be charged shortly.
“We hear about some pretty exotic stuff,” a professor at a testing lab at Louisiana State University said. “Frog juice—this is exotic.” The painkiller is “far more potent than morphine. This puts the horse’s life in danger. It puts the jockey’s life in danger. This is an attempt to cheat. This is bad stuff. This is doping.”