08/05/2003 11:00PM

RCI bars oxygen device

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The Association of Racing Commissioners International has amended its list of prohibited practices to include the use of machines that deliver oxygen to horses in training.

The devices, which have been used in Australia, deliver low levels of oxygen to horses through the use of a hood and a machine, and improve a horse's ability to process oxygen in the blood, according to Lonny Powell, president of the RCI. Though the machines have not been used in the United States, the RCI recommended that the practice be prohibited at tracks until a review is completed about the effects of the machines on horses in training, Powell said.

The new language was added to a model rule the RCI first drafted in 2001 that also prohibited the use of blood-enhancing agents such as erythropoietin, also known as EPO.