05/14/2007 11:00PM

Virginia acts on steroids

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The Virginia Racing Commission on Tuesday adopted rules that will prohibit trainers from administering all but four anabolic steroids to horses, according to an announcement from the commission.

Stan Bowker, the executive secretary of the commission, called the rules a "stopgap measure" as Virginia moves to adopt a rule recently endorsed by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, an umbrella group for U.S. horse racing regulatory bodies. That rule also envisioned the establishment of threshold levels for the four legal anabolics that would prohibit their use at least 30 days before a race. The threshold levels are not expected to be established until late in 2007.

The Virginia rule will allow horsemen to use boldenone, stanozolol, nandrolone, and testosterone, but it will not put restrictions on when the drugs can be used, Bowker said, because of the absence of the threshold levels. Any other steroid use will result in fines and suspensions.

"There are still some issues to be worked out with the threshold levels, and that's not going to happen until later this year," Bowker said. "This is just to get us through this year until the national policy is ready for adoption."

Virginia has prohibited the use of anabolic steroids since 1997, but the prohibitions were not enforced until last year, when the commission began testing for the presence of the drugs in postrace samples.

The rule passed Tuesday will also prohibit horsemen from using any of the four approved drugs in combination with each other.