01/16/2008 12:00AM

Horsemen seek steroid ban delay

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A group of East Coast-based horsemen's associations has begun to ask racing jurisdictions to hold off on implementing rules regulating the use of anabolic steroids until Jan. 1, 2009, citing the patchwork of movements under way in states that would put the rules into effect at varying dates in 2008.

Alan Foreman, the chairman of the National Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, said that the intent of the delaying effort is to avoid "unfair punishments" that would result from horses moving from states in which no regulations on anabolic steroids exist into those where the rules have been adopted. The national horsemen's association represents horsemen's groups in Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

"Right now we've got this piecemeal approach for a problem that needs a national solution," Foreman said.

Most mid-Atlantic states are working on rules that would restrict the administration of anabolic steroids to the therapeutic use of four commonly used anabolics, with a target of implementing the rules by April 1. Several major racing states, however, including New York, Florida, and Kentucky, have just begun the regulatory process to adopt restrictions.