03/12/2008 12:00AM

Two states pass steroid rules


Racing commissions in Indiana and Delaware voted on Tuesday to begin to enforce restrictions on the use of anabolic steroids beginning this spring. The two states are among only a handful of racing jurisdictions that are expected to enforce anabolic-steroid rules this year.

In Delaware, restrictions on the use of anabolic steroids will begin to be enforced on April 19, the opening day of Delaware Park's 2008 meet. However, trainers will be given a grace period until July 16 in which penalties for a positive will not be enforced. In Indiana, the restrictions will begin to be enforced with the opening of the Thoroughbred meet at Indiana Downs on April 25. Like Delaware, the racing commission adopted a 45-day grace period in which trainers will be notified of steroid infractions but no penalties will be enforced.

Anabolic steroids can be used to build muscle mass in horses when used regularly. Most racing jurisdictions in the U.S. do not have any prohibitions on the use of the drugs, but many states are now in the process of adopting regulations, although the majority of those states do not expect to put the restrictions in place until the beginning of 2009. Pennsylvania has already passed regulations that will begin to be enforced on April 1. The regulations include a three-month grace period.

John Wayne, the executive director of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, said that the state felt that the restrictions needed to be put in place as soon as possible despite the lack of national consensus on the rules.

"The bystanding days are over," Wayne said. "The time is right."