Kentucky regulators approve steroid ban (Ky)

by FRANK ANGST | Thoroughbred Times | 25 August 2008

Mr. Angst filed the following report:

    Kentucky moved a step closer on Monday to banning steroids in Thoroughbred races conducted in the state.

    The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission unanimously approved a rule that will prohibit Thoroughbreds from racing with anabolic steroids in their system.

    The commission approved the rule, largely based on a recommendation earlier this month by the Kentucky Equine Drug Council, during a meeting at Fasig-Tipton Company’s sales pavilion in Lexington.

    “This is a historic change in Kentucky’s signature industry,” said Robert Beck, chairman of the commission. “This action puts the Commonwealth at the forefront nationally in ensuring integrity in racing.”

    The Kentucky Equine Drug Council makes recommendations to the racing commission on equine drug regulations. In keeping with the recommendation, the commission will allow the use of boldenone, nandrolone, and testosterone for therapeutic use. Horses who receive these steroids in therapy will be ineligible to race for 60 days and will need to present a cleat test report from an approved lab.

    “Anabolic steroids should not be present in a horse that is racing,” said the commission’s executive director, Lisa Underwood. “The betting public, the other trainers, and owners should be confident that the race is being run on a level playing field. This rule will go a long way toward eliminating anabolic steroids from the sport.”

    The commission made some changes to the council’s recommendation. In terms of penalties, all anabolic steroids were placed in the Class B category. That category calls for a license suspension of up to 60 days for the first offense.

    Under the new rules, a person who claims a horse may request that the horse be tested for anabolic steroids at the time the claim form is filed at the track, at the claimant’s cost. The claimant may void the transaction of the test is positive.

    The commission clarified steroid rules for trainers who ship horses to the state to race. The trainers can either follow the reporting requirements set for in the regulation, or certify that the horse has not received anabolic steroids in the last 60 days. If the trainer took the horse under his care less than 60 days before a Kentucky race, the trainer must acknowledge and accept responsibility if a positive test result is returned for anabolic steroids.

    The rule now will move forward to state government. Governor Steve Beshear supports taking emergency action to enact the ban.

    “It is my intent to deem this issue an emergency so that the regulation can go into effect immediately,” Beshear said earlier this month. “Kentucky is the horse capital of the world. We must be a leader in ensuring the health and integrity of horses and of this vitally important industry. A ban on anabolic steroids is an important part of that process.”

    The commission said the ban on anabolic steroids would begin immediately upon the effective date of the emergency resolution. There will be a 90-day grace period in terms of penalties, but a positive test in the final 30 days of the grace period will be considered an aggravating factor in any subsequent case involving violation of the drug rule.

    Under the rule, a positive finding in the final 30 days of the three-month grace period accompanied by evidence that the steroid was administered in the previous 60 days, shall constitute a violation of the drug rule.

Frank Angst is a Thoroughbred Times senior writer

© Copyright 2008, Thoroughbred Times. This information may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission of the copyright owner, Thoroughbred Times Company, Inc.

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