10/14/2008 11:00PM

Texas to test for steroids Jan. 1

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The Texas Racing Commission will begin testing for anabolic steroids on Jan. 1. At the outset of the program, a positive test for steroids will be treated as a Class 4 drug violation under current Texas medication policy. The commission hopes to adopt the model rule on steroid testing recommended by the the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium as early as February.

Penalties for Class 4 drug violations in Texas range from a suspension of 15 to 60 days, a fine of up to $1,000, and loss of purse. Officials said in a release issued Wednesday that horses competing should no longer be administered anabolic steroids.

According to the release, Texas's final adoption of the model rule on steroid testing will meet the new Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association requirement for maintaining graded stakes.

The commission also announced that toe grabs on Thoroughbreds will be limited to two millimeters beginning Jan. 1. A trainer whose horse is scratched before a race for violating the toe grab rule could be subject to a $250 fine for the first offense, according to commission officials. They said the racetrack associations will be instructed to make the toe grab policy a house rule.