05/01/2014 10:53AM

Indiana approves tighter medication rules


The Indiana Horse Racing Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved a set of medication rules that are designed to limit the number of regulated therapeutic medications allowed in racehorses, becoming the sixth state in the U.S. to fully adopt the rules.

The approval Wednesday was the final step to implement the rules, which will go into effect on May 15, according to the commission. The rules put in place threshold levels for 26 medications that are approved for use in horses for therapeutic purposes. All other drugs will be treated as prohibited if found in post-race samples, barring mitigating circumstances, such as accidental contamination.

As in most other states that have adopted the rules, the biggest change to Indiana’s regulations will be in the withdrawal time for clenbuterol, a popular bronchial dilator that, according to racing chemists, has been abused by some horsemen for its ability to build muscle when used regularly. The new withdrawal time for clenbuterol will be 14 days, up from five days under the previous regulations.

Also, the new rules restrict the administration of raceday furosemide, the diuretic that is used to treat bleeding in the lungs, to veterinarians appointed by the state, rather than private practitioners. All other substances are prohibited on raceday.

Indiana also adopted a new penalty schedule that will assign points to violators. Under the new system, once a licensee’s points exceed certain thresholds within a certain time period, the licensee will face automatic additional sanctions, even if the violations are for overages of relatively innocuous drugs.
The new rules, part of an effort to align racing medication regulations among states, have already been fully implemented in Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Virginia. Another dozen states are in the process of fully implementing the rules.

The Jockey Club has made progress on adopting the rules as a litmus test for the industry’s commitment to racing reform. The chairman of the group, Ogden Mills Phipps, said recently that if a “majority” of racing states have not fully implemented the rules by August, the organization will press for federal regulation of the sport.