03/12/2013 4:41PM

Eight eastern states agree to uniform medication rules

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Eight racing states along the Eastern Seaboard, including New York and Pennsylvania, have agreed to adopt a set of policies designed to tighten the administration of medication to racehorses and align the states under one set of rules, the organization that pushed for the agreement announced Tuesday.

The states have pledged to adopt the rules by the end of 2013 for a universal implementation date of Jan. 1, 2014. Under the rules, 24 medications will be allowed to be administered to racehorses to treat illness and injury, including the anti-bleeding medication furosemide, which will be the only drug allowed to be administered on race day.

Many of the other drugs will be subject to strict limitations on when they can be administered, along with restrictions on dosage and route of administration.

Any post-race finding of a medication that is not on the approved list will be treated as a positive. However, that would not prohibit a trainer or veterinarian from using a medication that is not on the list to treat a horse, as long as it is administered in such a way as to clear the horse’s system by the time it races.

The eight-state agreement was forged by the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, one of the organizations that participated two years ago in the launch of an effort to identify medications that should be allowed to be administered to racehorses. The THA has affiliates in many of the states that have pledged to adopt the rules, and many horsemen in those states routinely ship their horses across state lines.

“The largest concentration of racing in the United States on a daily basis is conducted in the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast,” said Alan Foreman, chairman of the THA. “There is no region in the country where uniformity is more imperative.”

The participating states are New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, and Massachusetts. Rules in the states regarding medication use currently vary widely.

Although the 24 medications that will be allowed have been identified by supporters of the effort, several of the limitations pertaining to the administration of the medications have yet to be finalized. The final rules are expected to be announced by April 1.

Under the rules that the states have pledged to support, any laboratories conducting drug tests for races run in the eight states will have to be accredited under standards devised by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, an industry group that conducts medication and drug-testing research. The purpose of the accreditation is to ensure that the labs are using the same equipment and methodology when subjecting post-race samples to drug tests.

New York regulators have already adopted many of the regulations that have been recommended by supporters of the uniform-rules effort. For example, late last year, New York adopted a rule prohibiting the administration of the bronchial dilator clenbuterol within 14 days of a race. The new rule has been cited by some horsemen in the Northeast for contributing to a decline in field sizes this winter at Aqueduct because out-of-state horsemen have been reluctant to ship in this year under the new restriction.

Similar efforts to adopt the rules are being pressed in nearly all other racing states, but the Mid-Atlantic region has been the most aggressive in committing to a timetable to adopt the rules.

Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
now lets also get tougher rules for those that are going to break those rules.and yes put in place protocols to protect the testing facilities from tampering.yes I know its challenging but where there is money involved and lax supervision corruption creeps in.they should have a cop present at the sample collection station at the track and this cop should be randomly selected an hour before the start of the meet and rotated daily.why well they say they have been testing all along yet we all know the miracle trainers get around that.
fuggedabodit More than 1 year ago
No race day drugs...none, nada, zilch....... sorry.
russell More than 1 year ago
Its rare to get this much cooperation in racing. Its long overdue but certainly a step in the right direction.
Nicholas Briglia More than 1 year ago
If they won't run their horses because of clenbuterol or any other drug than that tells you we are on the right track. If you bend the rules to allow trainers to do what they want then the game is lost.
Raymond Hackinson More than 1 year ago
The uniformity of this measure sounds great but you can be sure someone will try to circumvent the rules. For NY in particular, will European horses coming to run in the the big turf races will they be subject to the same restrictions?
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
European horses are subject to much stricter rules already.no Lasix no bute etc.and its been that way for ever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a start in the right direction. Not like the fans haven't been stressing this for a long time. The playing field must be fair. Every test should be administered that can enhance a horse's ability. No matter who the owner or trainer is.
Nancy Spence More than 1 year ago
Yes, a very small step.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
A small step in the right direction. However, until they start testing for EPO and other blood doping agents the real performance enhancers will continue to go ignored. A serious presentation regarding drugs in the industry was given before the Jockey Club at a round table conference. A light was strongly cast on the problems with these drugs and apparently no one was listening and still ignored.
mikey More than 1 year ago
I guess it is true if you hang around long enough you see everything.More than 1 track working together is something i felt i woud never see.They can let the white smoke out from all eight of the tracks.This is a start if it really happens.
Andrew Montez More than 1 year ago
"However, that would not prohibit a trainer or veterinarian from using a medication that is not on the list to treat a horse, as long as it is administered in such a way as to clear the horse’s system by the time it races." I'm on board, but this is to funny, is it not?