04/16/2014 4:00PM

Delaware adopts new medication rules

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New rules regarding the administration of medication and a new penalty schedule for trainers violating medication regulations will go into effect in Delaware on May 11, the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission said Wednesday.

Delaware’s only Thoroughbred track, Delaware Park, opens May 17, six days after the rules are scheduled to go into effect.

The rules, which tighten the number of medications that can be administered to horses and provide for stricter penalties for violations, conform to a set of recommendations devised and approved by two national groups, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and the Association of Racing Commissioners International. A number of states, many of them concentrated in the East, have adopted the rules or are in the process of adopting them as part of a larger effort to align racing regulations from state to state.

Delaware’s racing commission approved the rules earlier this year and posted them for public comment March 1. The commission said it received no feedback regarding the new rules during the 30-day public-comment period.

Critics of racing have contended that states are not adopting the rules fast enough to indicate that the sport is serious about reform. The Jockey Club has said it will press for federal legislation to regulate racing if “a majority” of racing states have not implemented the rules by August. By The Jockey Club’s count, only four states, not including Delaware, have so far fully implemented the rules, though a dozen more are in varying stages of adoption.