10/17/2005 11:00PM

Texas nears alkalizing rule

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The Texas Racing Commission on Tuesday took a significant step toward instituting a rule providing for testing for alkalizing agents. The commission unanimously passed a proposed policy that will come up for adoption at the commission's next meeting in December.

The proposed rule states that a horse that tests at more than 38 millimoles of carbon dioxide per liter of plasma would exceed the permitted level. The standard is similar to other jurisdictions, like New York and California, where a horse with more than 37 millimoles of carbon dioxide per liter of plasma exceeds the permitted level.

Alkalizing agents, which cause the excess carbon dioxide, are believed to help ward off fatigue in some horses.

Under an earlier proposal, penalties in Texas would be a $1,000 fine and 30-day suspension on first offense, a $2,500 fine and 90-day suspension on second offense, and a $5,000 fine and one-year suspension on a third offense. In all cases, loss of purse money would be part of the penalties.

The proposed rule also enables testing for alkalizing agents to be random, and held before or after a race. The commission began pursuing a rule on the subject after conducting a blind testing program on some horses who raced at Lone Star Park and Retama Park between April and August.

In other business, the commission unanimously adopted the simulcast purse splits between Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses used in 2005 for 2006.