07/25/2013 5:21PM

Illinois Racing Board discusses standardized medication ruules

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Supporters of a new set of medication rules provided testimony Thursday to the Illinois Racing Board in the first step of a discussion of whether the board will conduct a vote on the rules, according to the head of an Illinois horsemen’s organization who attended.

Mike Campbell, the president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, said every individual who testified at the hearing supported the adoption of the new rules, with the exception of an official representing the University of Chicago-Illinois drug-testing lab, which has conducted post-race drug testing on Illinois samples for decades.

The new rules would limit the number of medications that could appear in a horse’s post-race samples to 24, most at very low concentrations, to allow horsemen to use the medications therapeutically while training. A number of states, mostly concentrated in the Mid-Atlantic, have pledged to adopt the rules by the end of the year in an effort to standardize rules among most racing jurisdictions.

Campbell said his organization, the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association, and the Illinois Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association all have voted to support the adoption of the rules. Representatives of the Association of Racing Commissioners International and Racing Medication and Testing Consortium also testified in support of the rules.

While officials of the IRB did not immediately return calls for comment, Campbell said he expects the board to call for a vote on the rules sometime in the fall, after the board addresses concerns raised by the Illinois lab during its testimony.