In horse race betting circles, “milkshaking” a horse is a colloquial term referring to the illegal practice of administering bicarbonate soda mixed with glucose and other additives to increase its performance and reduce fatigue. The milkshake increases the alkalinity of the horse’s blood, which buffers the build-up of lactate and allows the horse to maintain maximum speed for longer periods of time.
In thoroughbred horse races that last 90 seconds or more, this effect can have a significant impact on the outcome. Nowadays, horses are required to be pre-race and post-race blood tested under very rigid protocols to remove the unfair advantage that some people gained by relying on this practice.
“I’m glad that our state introduced new regulations to combat milkshaking of horses. Hopefully, all races will be fair from now on.”
The use of a milkshake made front page news in New York in 2005 after a federal investigation resulted in 17 individuals being charged for involvement in an illegal gambling ring and fixing at least one race at Aqueduct. The winner of the race in question, A One Rocket, was administered a milkshake before his 10-length victory on December 18, 2003.