08/23/2005 12:00AM

Horsemen sue over drug rules in Kentucky


The Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to prevent the state from enforcing new raceday medication rules as of Sept. 7, according to Marty Maline, the executive director of the association.

The lawsuit, filed in Franklin Circuit Court, claims that Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher should not have been able to sign the new medication rules into law on an emergency basis, according to Maline.

"The governor is not entitled to call for an emergency regulation without it meeting certain criteria," Maline said late Tuesday. "We're not confident that it met those criteria, and furthermore, why is it an emergency?"

A hearing has been set for Sept. 1 for the two sides to argue their cases, Maline said. Judge Roy Crittenden of Franklin Circuit Court will hear the case.

The horsemen's association filed the lawsuit after a meeting of horsemen on Tuesday morning at Ellis Park. Maline said that the association's lawyer explained the group's legal position at the meeting and that horsemen agreed to go forward with the suit.

The new rules would limit raceday medications to Lasix, the diuretic used to treat bleeding in the lungs, and two of a possible four so-called adjunct bleeding medications.

The rules replaced a set of regulations that were the most liberal of any racing jurisdiction in the United States.