09/05/2008 12:00AM

Kentucky governor acts on steroids

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Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear signed an executive order on Friday putting in force strict new regulations on the administration of anabolic steroids in racehorses, according to his office.

Kentucky regulators had pushed for an executive order to adopt the regulations, which were approved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission 10 days ago. The rules restrict the administration of anabolic steroids to three drugs that cannot be used within 60 days of a race, and penalize violators with a 60-day ban.

Without an executive order, the rules would have had to be approved by the legislature after a 60-day public comment period and a review by legislative committees. The regulations will still need to go through the regular process to become permanent, but can be put into force immediately with the executive order.

Robert Beck, the chairman of the racing commission, said on Friday that the regulations put in place Friday were identical to those passed by the commission last week. He also said that the racing commission was working to post guidelines on the new rules on its website for the benefit of horsemen.

"We want to make sure that it's clear to everyone how to comply," Beck said.

The regulations include a 90-day grace period in which violations will be treated as warnings. If, however, a trainer has a horse test positive for any anabolic steroid in the last 30 days of the grace period, "and there is evidence that the anabolic steroid was administered in the preceding 60 days," according to the rule, then the violator will receive a 60-day ban.