07/31/2008 11:00PM

Breeders' Cup sets steroid policy


The Breeders' Cup has adopted a policy that will bar a trainer from participating in any of its 14 season-ending races for one year if the trainer has a horse that tests positive for an illegal level of anabolic steroids in one of the races, the organization announced on Friday.

In addition, beginning in 2009, the Breeders' Cup policy will prohibit tracks from receiving purse supplements from the organization unless the state where the track is located has adopted a policy to regulate steroids, or unless the track itself adopts a house rule regulating steroids. The Breeders' Cup has allocated $6 million in supplements for 100 stakes races in North America in 2008.

The new policies are part of a national push by many racing organizations and states to address public concerns about the use of anabolic steroids in the sport. Prior to 2008, anabolic steroids were unregulated in all but one state, but this year, 11 states have adopted a rule limiting anabolic-steroid use to four drugs that cannot be administered within 30 days of a race. Most other racing states are in the process of adopting the rule with the goal of implementing the regulations as of Jan. 1, 2009.

"The Breeders' Cup board believes it's crucial that we take a leadership role in eliminating anabolic steroids from our sport," said William Farish Jr., the chairman of the organization's board.

The Breeders' Cup this year will be held on Oct. 24-25 at Santa Anita Park in California. Earlier this year, the California Horse Racing Board adopted a rule regulating anabolic steroids, and it has already begun testing for the drugs. The CHRB is expected begin issuing penalties for steroid positives in California in September.

The Breeders' Cup policy will also ban a trainer for life from its season-ending events if the trainer has three positive tests for illegal levels of steroids. Jim Gluckson, a spokesman for the Breeders' Cup, said the three-strikes rule would apply without restrictions on the timing of the positive. For instance, if two horses tested positive for steroids at the same event, then the trainer would be banned if another horse tested positive at any time in the future.

The Breeders' Cup is also scheduled for Santa Anita in 2009.

Gluckson said that the Breeders' Cup has not yet decided whether it would eliminate tracks from hosting the event if the state in which the track is located does not have rules regulating anabolic steroids.

"We would certainly encourage tracks in those states to get the steroid regulations on the books," Gluckson said.