08/14/2005 11:00PM

Kentucky board finalizes proposed drug regulations


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority unanimously approved the final drafts of the proposed revisions to its medication regulations and penalties when it met Monday at The Red Mile.

Under the new policies, the only allowable race-day medications will be Lasix, bleeder adjuncts, and one of three non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents.

The new policies could be implemented within days if they are signed into law as emergency measures by Gov. Ernie Fletcher, although they eventually will need to pass through normal legal channels to become permanent regulations.

Jim Gallagher, executive director for the authority, called the proposed regulations "the most comprehensive" in North America.

The penalties include increased suspensions and fines for trainers and, in some cases, the suspension of horses. Gallagher told the board that the new policies are highly specific in assigning penalties to violations. He said previous regulations in Kentucky and elsewhere have been vague in that regard.

While authority members Bill Street and Connie Whitfield were highly effusive in their praise of the approval of the final drafts, the reaction was quite the opposite from Marty Maline, executive director of the Kentucky division of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, which represents most of the state's horsemen.

Maline said afterward that the horsemen's input has been severely limited by the authority. "Hopefully our voices will be heard on this issue as the process plays itself out," he said.

Maline said one major complaint is that horsemen have not been permitted an ample opportunity by the board to review the new penalties.

In other authority business:

* Gallagher announced the hiring of retired jockey Patti Cooksey as deputy executive director for the authority. Cooksey will deal primarily with the promotional aspects of the Kentucky horse industry.

* The authority approved 10-cent superfectas and a second pick four for the Turfway fall meet that starts Sept. 7.

* Earlier Monday at authority headquarters at the Kentucky Horse Park, a 2 1/2-hour discussion on the issue of liability insurance for jockeys riding in Kentucky was scheduled to be continued Sept. 1.