12/11/2013 4:50PM

Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approves uniform drug rules

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – The ideal of medication uniformity in Thoroughbred racing in America drew a big step closer to reality Wednesday when the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved changes to the state’s medication rules, aligning Kentucky with 10 other states to take similar action this year.

The approval by an 11-0 vote (with one abstention) came at a regularly scheduled commission meeting at the Kentucky Horse Park. That result was widely expected after an advisory panel to the commission, the Equine Drug Research Council, formally recommended the changes Dec. 3.

Susan Speckert, legal counsel for the commission, said the changes should go into effect in “about four to six months,” dependent on how the required legal process continues to unfold.

The new regulations largely mirror uniform rules supported by a wide range of racing organizations and include reclassifying some therapeutic medications into different withdrawal-time windows. Race-day Lasix use remains unaffected.

Perhaps most notable among the affected medications is the bronchial dilator clenbuterol, which is currently legal to administer within three days of a race for both Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds. The new rule recommends a withdrawal guideline of 14 days.

Dr. Mary Scollay, equine medical director for the commission, presented an overview of the new rules to those on hand Wednesday, much of it from a national perspective. The states where uniformity already has been approved account for more than 60 percent of annual parimutuel handle in the United States, she said.

Commission member Dr. Jerry Yon told the commission that Drug Research Council members mostly agreed at their Dec. 3 meeting (where the vote was 4-2) that they are “satisfied that this is a good first attempt” at bringing Kentucky into the national fold. Lengthy arguments against some components of the changes were made to no avail at that meeting, including by horsemen’s representative Rick Hiles.

At the Wednesday meeting, commission member Tom Conway, a longtime horse owner, posed several questions about the Drug Research Council recommendations while cautioning against uniformity simply for uniformity’s sake. Chairman Bob Beck later countered that argument by saying the uniformity movement will help in fending off unwanted federal oversight.

After lengthy discussion, and by separate votes, it was determined the new medication rules also will apply to other racing breeds in competition in the state. Commission member Alan Leavitt said it was his “fervent hope” that breed-specific rules in Kentucky ultimately could be approved, with those pertaining to clenbuterol and corticosteroids exempted in regard to Standardbreds, largely because of the greater frequency with which they race. Leavitt said Kentucky rules not being breed-specific “would be very destructive” to the Standardbred industry in the state, but his position was denied by the vote.

– additional reporting by Matt Hegarty

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
while it may seem far fetched, if the actual HORSE that came up positive was suspended for a sizeable period of time, along with the trainer and vet responsible, the OWNERS would not be so quick to place their horses with trainers found in violation of the medication rules.
m More than 1 year ago
Wow thanks DRF for letting all of us read this article free of charge! Losers
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Suspend the whole barn that would piss off enough owners. If a trainer was suspended for a period of time his whole barn would not be aloud to run. Passing it on to the assistant trainer is stupid the owners are not affected. Owners would be weary of who they give there horses to and keep a eye on the trainers. More trainers would get quality animals and cut down on some of mega barns. This is just a dream, I am no lawyer this probably would not fly in court.
Vinod Jhangimal More than 1 year ago
Heyyy people it's great that they have passed uniform drug rules. Finally. Now when they ignore drug offenders or give them their respective "slaps-on-the-wrist" it will be done in uniformity with the uniformed drug rules, plus they will forcé offenders to wear uniforms that will say "KY has uniforms for uniform drug rule offenders." On top of that, they will launch a publication called Uni-Form which will be the exclusive form for those that still think DR Form Plus sucks!! Phew, I am uniformly tired!
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Nicely written. Like the sarcasm.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
!4 days out for clenbuterol is a good move. To remove it completely is really what is needed.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
I second that opinion as I've been touting the removal of clenbuterol for some time and glad to hear you say it. But, the 14 days sounds like a guideline for withdrawal only. I always thought that was the guideline to clear the system, and why you see horses get that extra time off to train on it and get the anabolic benefits having to stop on it two weeks out.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
HC, it's alotta bull as you know but do you want it kept at three days? I, personally would never drop a bid on a horse that had been "treated" with clen-bute. Can you tell me why a yearling in training needs that crap?
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
No one should be allowed to use it period. No matter what anyone says, it is used for the anabolic steroid affects, that has been proven and is well known, and it's not a good thing.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
If you can't give them steroids, you give them clenbuterol, then say, doesn't he look fantastic...oh yea and we cleared those airways, said with a chuckle.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Exactly. You ever notice certain trainers avoid New York. But their % soar where it is allowed 3-4 days out. Chemists.
Steve S More than 1 year ago
All just rhetoric..... Make UNIFORM changes to people who cheat with drugs.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Agreed