09/27/2007 11:00PM

Indiana restricts steroids

EmailThe Indiana Horse Racing Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a rule that restricts the use of anabolic steroids to four different drugs that will be prohibited from being administered within at least 30 days of a race, beginning in 2008.

The rule is based on a model regulation that has been approved by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, an umbrella group of commissions. Indiana is the first racing jurisdiction to adopt the rule, although Iowa and Virginia both have existing regulations restricting anabolic steroids.

The rule will allow veterinarians to administer four commonly used anabolic steroids - stanozolol, boldenone, nandrolone, and testosterone - but establishes threshold levels for concentrations in urine that will effectively prohibit the administration within at least one month of a race, and possibly two months. The rule also states that the finding of two or more anabolic steroids would be considered a violation.

The penalty for a violation of the anabolic steroid policy would be a $250 fine and forfeiture of the purse.

Anabolic steroids can have potent muscle-building effects when used on a regular schedule. The drugs are also commonly administered in order to help horses recover from exercise or restore appetite.

According to Dr. Rick Arthur, the equine medical director of the California Horse Racing Board who helped devise the model rule, the threshold levels were based on research conducted in foreign countries, where anabolic steroid use is strictly regulated. A horse who has been administered an anabolic steroid would test positive under the threshold levels in the rule adopted by Indiana "anywhere from 30 to 60 days" after use, Arthur said.

The rule allows horsemen who have administered an anabolic steroid to ask the state veterinarian to monitor the concentration in the drug before entering a race.