10/14/2008 12:00AM

New York sets Jan. 1 steroid ban


Rules that regulate the administration of anabolic steroids in New York will go into effect as of Jan. 1, officials of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board said Tuesday.

The rules, which ban all anabolic steroids with the exception of four that cannot be used within 30 days of a race, had been provisionally adopted by the board several months ago. Nearly every racing jurisdiction in the United States has already adopted similar rules or is in the process of adopting the rules, which are being aggressively pushed by a number of national racing organizations.

Kentucky and Maryland have already adopted rules regulating steroids, so in 2009, the three Triple Crown races - the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes - will be run under steroid bans for the first time. Steroids have long been banned in every other foreign racing jurisdiction.

The rules still need to be posted for a 45-day public comment period before they can be officially approved. Joe Mahoney, a spokesman for the board, said that regulators did not anticipate any modifications to the rules, given what he termed "widespread" support for the regulations from racetracks and horsemen.

Unlike in several other states that have pushed anabolic-steroid regulations through the approval process on an expedited or emergency basis, the New York regulations will not provide for a grace period in which horsemen will be warned about positives before being issued penalties for violations. In part, according to Mahoney, that is because horsemen will have 2 1/2 months to come into compliance with the regulations after the Tuesday announcement.