05/19/2008 11:00PM

CHRB moves to stiffen steroid penalties

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The California Horse Racing Board at a meeting on Tuesday approved a motion to reclassify four anabolic steroids as Class 3 drugs in an effort to stiffen penalties for violations of the powerful drugs by the fall.

The four steroids – boldenone, nandrolone, stanozolol, and testosterone – will only be permitted to appear in trace levels in postrace blood and urine tests beginning July 1 under new rules that prohibit all other anabolic steroids. The steroids are currently classified as either Class 4 or Class 6 medications.

If the new classification is approved by the state's administrative bodies, the CHRB will be able to order redistribution of a purse and issue fines and suspensions to trainers for violations. The current classification only allows for fines.

Commissioners passed the motion as a way to get the new regulation through a 45-day public comment period prior to a meeting on July 17. The board is expected to give final approval to the new classification at that meeting.

California is one of 10 states that have recently passed a rule regulating the administration of steroids, which had previously been legal to administer in almost all U.S. racing jurisdictions. The board has set threshold levels for the four steroids that would allow trainers and veterinarians to administer the drugs 30 days out from a race.

* The board also agreed to table a request by the California Authority of Racing Fairs to raise the takeout by 1 percent on all wagers offered at the state's fairs in order to fund capital improvements. Officials of CARF said that the plan would raise $1.25 million a year.