04/26/2007 11:00PM

Panel approves steroid rule

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The Association of Racing Commissioners International on Thursday approved a model rule that seeks to regulate the use of anabolic steroids for the first time in the U.S. horse racing industry.

The rule, based on a recommendation by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, would allow for the therapeutic use of four anabolic steroids but establish threshold levels for the drugs. The four permitted anabolics would be stanozolol, boldenone, nandrolone, and testosterone.

Anabolic steroids are unregulated in every state but Iowa. The United States is the only racing jurisdiction in the world that allows for unregulated use of the drugs, which are used to build a horse's muscle mass, improve appetite, and help recovery from strenuous exercise.

Under the rule, all anabolic steroids but the four permitted drugs would be banned completely. Administration of the permitted steroids would be allowed as long as the concentration of the drug in a horse's postrace urine or blood sample does not exceed a certain level, which would effectively prohibit administering them within 30 days of a race. Anabolics are most effective to build muscle mass when administered on a weekly or bi-weekly regimen.

The rule does not establish any specific threshold levels, and the only published threshold levels are in Iowa.

The adoption of the rule by the RCI means that U.S. racing jurisdictions will receive the rule as a recommendation for adoption at the state level.