02/22/2007 1:00AM

Panel sets steroid guide


The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium on Wednesday approved a model rule that would regulate the use of four anabolic steroids and prohibit all other anabolic steroids from being administered to a horse.

The rule, which was approved by the consortium's board at a meeting in Tampa Bay, Fla., would allow horsemen to administer boldenone, nandrolone, stanozolol, and testosterone for treating injuries and illnesses, but would create threshold levels for detecting the drugs that would seek to prohibit the administration of them within at least 30 days of a race. All four of the anabolic steroids have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the horse.

The consortium is a national racing organization that proposes rules for adoption by state racing commissions. Consortium officials said that the rule has been forwarded to the Association of Racing Commissioners International, an umbrella group for state racing commissions, so that the commissioners' board could vote on the rule at its meeting in late April.

Anabolic steroids, which can be used to build muscle mass, help a horse recover from strenuous exercise and stimulate the appetite. They are believed to be in widespread use in U.S. racing circles, though the drugs are prohibited in every major foreign racing jurisdiction.

Dan Fick, the chairman of the medication consortium, said on Thursday that the use of threshold levels to regulate the four anabolic steroids would prevent trainers and veterinarians from putting horses on regular schedules of the drugs. Steroids are most effective in building muscle mass when administered on a weekly or bi-weekly schedule.

"There are some good therapeutic reasons to use steroids to treat some injuries and illnesses," Fick said. "But under the rule you couldn't be giving a shot every week and still race."