02/10/2006 1:00AM

Ky. adopts drug guidelines

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The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority unanimously adopted a set of withdrawal guidelines designed to help horsemen avoid post-race positives at a meeting on Friday at the Kentucky Horse Park near Lexington.

The authority was acting on a unanimous recommendation of the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council, which met earlier in the day. The withdrawal guidelines were put together by two racetrack veterinarians, Dr. Jorge Colon and Dr. Andy Roberts, who said during both meetings that they had distributed drafts and redrafts of the guidelines to dozens of veterinarians and chemists.

"No one is really happy with it, but everyone can live with it," Roberts said.

The guidelines are merely recommendations to horsemen and trainers about when to stop using certain therapeutic medications. Very few states have developed similar guidelines, and several states that have written similar guidelines do not distribute the recommendations for fear that it would invite trainers and veterinarians to experiment with drug levels.

The guidelines also incorporated nine threshold levels for commonly used drugs. If a post-race test indicates a drug is present in concentrations below those thresholds, then a positive will not be called.

The withdrawal guidelines and new rules governing penalties for drug positives are scheduled to come before the Kentucky legislature's Subcommittee on Administrative Review on Monday. Connie Whitfield, the chair of the equine drug council, said that members of the subcommittee had warned the authority that they would be less receptive to approving the penalties unless the withdrawal guidelines accompanied the new rules.