05/22/2012 2:44PM

California Horse Racing Board to discuss clenbuterol ban


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Clenbuterol, a bronchodilator sometimes used to build muscle mass, may be prohibited to appear in post-race tests for Thoroughbreds in California as early as this summer.

The California Horse Racing Board is scheduled to discuss the issue at its monthly meeting at Betfair Hollywood Park on Thursday. The board may enact guidelines prohibiting the use of clenbuterol in the days preceding a race.

Currently, clenbuterol is allowed to appear in post-race tests of Thoroughbreds up to a limit of 5 nanograms in urine and 25 picograms of blood. Trainers face penalties if horses test in excess of those levels.

Thursday’s discussion occurs at a time when state regulatory agencies across the nation have acted to restrict, or are holding discussions on limiting, the use of raceday medications. In February, the New Mexico State Racing Commission enacted a 12-month ban on clenbuterol. Racing commissions in Kentucky and New York are planning discussions about phasing out the use of the bleeder medication Lasix.

If the California racing board votes to fully prohibit the use of clenbuterol, the rule could take effect within a few months, after horsemen are allowed time to modify their use of the medication.

The board is allowed by rule to suspend the use of a drug on race day, by breed, track, or race, provided a public notice on the matter is held and horsemen’s organizations are notified.

There is a precedent for such a ban in the state. Since October, clenbuterol has not been allowed for raceday use in Quarter Horse races at Los Alamitos. Quarter Horse trainers have been urged to take their horses off the medication 30 days in advance of a race to be certain there is no trace level of the medication in horses’ systems on race days.

The ban was enacted after brands of clenbuterol not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration were being used on Quarter Horses, primarily as a muscle-building agent.

At the racing board’s track safety and medication committee meeting last month, racing board equine medical director Rick Arthur said that there had been no clenbuterol positives in Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos in a six-month period beginning in October. He said there had been 14 violations at Los Alamitos from July 2010 to October 2011.

There is expected to be testimony at Thursday’s meeting for no change to the rules pertaining to Thoroughbreds. Veterinarians have written to the racing board in recent weeks, stating the therapeutic benefits of clenbuterol use within current thresholds.

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Ryan Soriano More than 1 year ago
I wonder how the poor vets are taking this ??? I bet they are dying to provide a rebuttal opinion to ensure their padding of billing continues. Nothing worse checking your mail box for a vet bill, and then calling your trainer who leaves u hanging out to dry.. Yes, you VETS know who u R ? LIES, LIES, LIES... I will leave it at that as i love the game too much, But it is sad, how they tarnished the game, crippled the sport financially and perspectively.... Now we have to pick up the pieces.... The bad ruined for the good and now we all have to pay the price, the players, the horses, everyone..... Will they go to far, yes, but how can we not given the damage that was done. Makes me sick... The arrogance of the old guard....... Look around now my friends.... Check out the grandstands, the inventory, the struggling "has been' trainers ? i don't feel bad for them, but i do for the game and the history....
RunningDog More than 1 year ago
"could take effect in a few months, after horsemen are allowed some time adjust," LOL How long does it take to adjust to the rule that says you are not allowed to use it xxx days before a race. If I am told at work I am not allowed to cheat my customers after this week I could adjust to that..How come in racing it takes a few months?
RunningDog More than 1 year ago
This has been ruining CA racing for awhile, wonder what takes this so long. Its not secret this drug use is widespread among top barns.
raymond More than 1 year ago
Ban, Ban, Ban. All therapeutic medications should be banned from any use other than on the farm and nowhere near a race track. I detest the use of medications of any kind being used. Look what it does to humans and the effeects it has on them, there is even more impact on thoroughbreds and the industry. It has long and lasting effects on the bloodline and effects the breeding and anyone that poisons the breed should be tar and feathered and never be allowed near any thoroughbred ever again. No chances, no excuses, first time your done. Zero tolerance.
Reid France More than 1 year ago
Get out of this game with that shit
jack s More than 1 year ago
no race day drugs are allowed in England, PERIOD. Although races are run at a slower pace, the breakdown rate is substantially lower than in the USA. Horses in England often race 5-6 times per month....sometimes they'll get 3 runs in a week....in fact, an 11 year old gelding named Dvinsky made his 208th lifetime start today, his 50th start since turning 10. Ban all race day medications....if the trainers can't train, they can find employment hauling garbage.
Scot More than 1 year ago
I agree!!!
Billy More than 1 year ago
It's a myth that horses don't run medications in other countries, They all have withdrawal times and they all have people cheating/bending the rules there, too. Here's a link for the Great Britain withdrawal times. http://www.britishhorseracing.com/resources/equine-science-and-welfare/medication-control.asp
Reid France More than 1 year ago
Its not a race day drug you idiot
Reid France More than 1 year ago
You idiot, this stuff does nothing but increase the appetite and flush out mucus with can cause pnemonua. Obviously you don't know much about horses, nor do you have the best interest in taking care of them. You should not be allowed in this game at all. If you are, get out!!
Chas Glazer More than 1 year ago
Another case of a helpful and legal medicine gets abused by trainers to build muscle mass instead of its use for breathing issues....
kingsailor2 More than 1 year ago
What a well written, informative article, thank you.