11/04/2013 3:55PM

New York to align medication rules with neighbors


The New York Gaming Commission, which regulates racing in the state, on Monday initiated a process to adopt of a set of threshold levels for 24 therapeutic medications that would align the state’s racing rules with a number of other nearby jurisdictions, but it’s unlikely formal approval would occur before Jan. 1, the goal of supporters of the movement.

The commission voted to approve the publishing of the new threshold levels and schedule a public hearing for commentary on the rules. A commissioner said during the meeting that the public hearing will likely be scheduled sometime in 2014.

New York’s rules do not currently vary greatly from the rules that would be enforced under the 24 threshold levels, and in the cases of several drugs, New York’s rules are more stringent. However, supporters of uniform medication guidelines have been pressing states to adopt the rules by the end of the year, in the hopes of eliminating confusion among horsemen and veterinarians as horsemen ship from state to state in the region.

Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia have already formally adopted the threshold levels, which were devised over the past several years under the guidance of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. Horsemen’s groups have endorsed the rules in a handful of other states, including New Jersey, Delaware, and Illinois.

Under the set of rules, the 24 medications would be allowed to appear in post-race blood and urine tests up to a threshold concentration set to allow for therapeutic use. All other positive findings in post-race tests would be treated as violations. New York already has some of the strictest drug-use rules in the United States.

Also at the meeting, the commission passed a rule to align its regulations with legislation passed earlier this year that will assess out-of-state account-wagering operators a 5-cent fee for each dollar of handle by a New York customer, beginning Jan. 1. Under that law, which was passed with the support of the state’s horse racing constituencies, New York’s racetracks and offtrack betting companies will receive the brunt of the money raised from the tax.