Racing Authorities Endorse Steroid Ban

IFHA says anabolic steroids have no place in horse racing.

The executive council of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities has taken the stand that anabolic steroids have no place in horse racing and should be not be permitted either in or out of competition.

The IFHA's executive council, which represents the principal racing regions of the world, met Oct. 8, and then issued its statement that reads:

"IFHA considers that anabolic steroids have no place in horse racing.

"The use of anabolic steroids should not be permitted in or out of competition.

"IFHA will work with jurisdictions that may permit exceptional use for therapeutic purposes only, subject to stringent controls and a minimum stand down period to eliminate performance enhancing effects."

The statement, which follows decisions by racing authorities in Australia and New Zealand to ban steroids effective in 2014, did not specify how the provision controlling therapeutic use would work in view of the call for an outright ban.

"I look forward to discussing this issue in a comprehensive manner with RCI (Association of Racing Commissioners International) and its members and with the Racing & Medication Testing Consortium in the weeks ahead," Jim Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club and a vice chairman of the IFHA executive council, said in a statement after attending the Oct. 8 meeting.

The bans on anabolic steroids in and out of competition in Australia and New Zealand take effect May 1, 2014.

IFHA executive council member Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, CEO of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, recently called upon the organization to call for the worldwide steroid ban following the eight-year suspension handed to Mahmood Al Zarooni, the former Godolphin trainer. Al Zarooni admitted administering the drugs to horses in his charge that were out of competition, saying he did not know his actions were a violation of British racing rules.