Plasma lactate and uric acid responses to racing in pacing Standardbreds and relationships with performance


Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia.


Relationships between racing performance and plasma lactate and uric acid concentrations after racing were investigated in pacing Standardbred racehorses. The study was undertaken in order to better understand factors that limit racing performance. Twenty horses were tested after races of 1760 m and 28 horses after races over 2160 m. Blood samples were taken 30–60 min before and 8 and 30 min after a race. There were no significant differences between the race distances for prerace and 8 min postrace plasma lactates. Significant low correlations were obtained for plasma lactate concentration 8 min postrace and the number of race wins (r = 0.29, P = 0.04), number of race placings (1st, 2nd or 3rd; r = 0.34, P = 0.02) and lifetime earnings (r = 0.29, P = 0.04). Net lactate was correlated with the number of race placings (r = 0.31, P = 0.03). There were no significant correlations between performance indices and plasma uric acid concentrations in races of 1760 m. For races over 2160 m, correlations were found between plasma uric acid concentration at 8 min postrace and the number of race wins (r = 0.37, P = 0.06, 95% confidence limits 0-0.65). As well, there was a significant correlation between uric acid concentration at 8 min postrace and lifetime earnings (r = 0.35, P = 0.07, 95% confidence limits 0.06-0.64). Only 10–15% of the variability in retrospective career performance in pacing Standardbreds can be explained by these metabolic markers of the muscle anaerobic response to racing. Plasma lactate and uric acid responses to maximal exercise are unlikely to be useful for evaluating racing performance in pacing Standardbreds in univariate analysis.