06/22/2012 3:25PM

New Mexico sets new drug rules

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The New Mexico Racing Commission on Thursday adopted a set of regulations that brings the state in line with most other major racing jurisdictions in regards to allowable levels of painkillers and penalty guidelines for repeat violators.

The regulations were adopted unanimously and will become effective on July 31. For the most part, the regulations dovetail with the model rules developed by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, an umbrella group for racing commissions.

Under the rules, the threshold limit for the popular painkiller phenylbutazone will be set at a level that would effectively prohibit the administration of the drug within 48 hours of post time. Regulatory authorities began recommending the lower limit several years ago under concern that the drug could mask injuries during pre-race veterinary exams if allowed to be present in higher concentrations.

The new rules also put in place a penalty scheme recommended by the RCI that applies longer suspensions and higher fines to trainers with postrace positives for the most potent performance-enhancing medications. The guidelines also entail harsher treatment for trainers with multiple positives, including the ability to apply positives in other states when determining penalties.

Earlier this year, the New Mexico commission had adopted one of the most stringent threshold levels in the United States for the bronchial dilator clenbuterol, which can have muscle-building properties if used regularly and frequently. The policy effectively prohibits the administration of the drug within 30 days of a race.