05/12/2008 11:00PM

Indiana extends steroid reprieve

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The Indiana Horse Racing Commission has approved an extension to a grace period in which postrace positive tests for anabolic steroids will not be penalized, the top official of the commission said on Tuesday.

Joe Gorajec, the commission's executive director, said that the grace period will now remain in effect through the remainder of the Thoroughbred meet at Indiana Downs on July 8. The commission had initially approved a grace period of 45 days, effective April 1, but extended the period to a total of 90 days at a meeting on Monday.

After the Indiana Downs meet ends, Thoroughbred racing does not begin again in the state until the opening of the Thoroughbred meet at Hoosier Park on Sept. 1.

The racing commission has been testing every sample provided by horses in the state for the presence of anabolic steroids since April 1. Gorajec said that none of the tested samples had tested positive for an anabolic steroid.

A handful of states have put in place rules to test for anabolic steroids based on a regulation endorsed by the Racing Commissioners International, an umbrella group for state regulatory bodies. The rule prohibits the use of all but four anabolic steroids, and restricts the use of the permitted steroids to no closer than 30 days before a race.

Gorajec said that the commission extended the grace period to be consistent with a recent RCI recommendation to waive anabolic-steroid penalties for a 90-day period after implementation of the rule. Anabolic steroids can remain in a horse's system for several months after administration.