09/05/2005 11:00PM

Kentucky softens new rule


With some Kentucky horsemen still not entering their horses at Turfway, the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority voted unanimously Tuesday in Lexington to issue warnings, rather than fines and suspensions, to trainers whose horses test positive for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, or NSAIDs, over the next 60 days. The change came in response to trainer complaints about new raceday medication rules that were scheduled to go into effect on Wednesday.

Under the new rules, the administration of any NSAID within 24 hours of post time is prohibited. The old rule allowed the administration of Butazolidin and any one of three other painkillers on raceday, including Banamine and ketoprofen.

"We understand this will take some time to get used to," said Jim Gallagher, the executive director of the authority. "We will talk to trainers and veterinarians in the first instance of a positive to tell them how they might have come up with it."

Many Kentucky horsemen, notably those in Louisville, have withheld entries from Turfway because of concerns regarding the new medication rules, which were recently signed into law and were scheduled to take effect Wednesday with the opening of the 22-day fall meet at Turfway.

On Tuesday, Turfway postponed until Wednesday the drawing of entries for the Thursday card in the hopes that the authority might temper any concerns about the new rules and prompt more horsemen to enter their horses. A meeting was scheduled for Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs in Louisville, where horsemen could discuss the the new rules in detail with Gallagher.

There was talk among horsemen on the backstretch Tuesday that the authority had decided not to enforce the new rules, but Gallagher called those rumors "completely untrue."

- additional reporting by Marty McGee