Regulators in Kentucky are planning to begin out-of-competition testing within the next seven to 10 days after Gov. Steve Beshear signed the new regulation to take effect on an emergency basis.
Acting on a request from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission that it be implemented on an emergency basis so it would be in place in advance of the Nov. 5-6 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs, the regulation took effect Sept. 15.
The new regulation will be effective for six months under the emergency provision. During that time, the regulation will go through a legislative vetting process, including public hearings, before a final regulation is adopted.
"Sampling and testing will be initiated, likely within the next week to 10 days," said Dr. Mary Scollay-Ward, equine medical director for Kentucky.
The regulation will allow the KHRC to conduct tests on horses regardless of location if there is a likelihood the horse ordered for testing will race in Kentucky. The tests are aimed at detecting prohibited substances, mainly blood-doping agents, that cannot be detected in post-race tests and which are specifically identified in the regulation. KHRC veterinary staff members have said that the substances targeted by the regulation can be detected for only a short period after being administered--meaning they would not show up in regular post-race tests--but can have a lengthy positive effect upon a horse’s performance.
First-time offenders under the regulation face license revocation of between five to 10 years and up to a $50,000 fine. Also, those same penalties would apply to an owner, trainer, or anyone entrusted with a horse’s care refusing to permit a horse to be tested. Horses that test positive under the regulations would be barred from racing in the state for 180 days.
Under the protocol established under the regulation, a licensee would be required to apply to the commission’s license review committee upon completion of the revocation period in order to be re-licensed. Also, a horse that tests positive under the regulation would be required to have a negative test before it could resume racing following the 180-day ban from competition.
Any horse that tested positive in a post-race test for the substances for which the out-of-competition regulation is aimed would face the stiffer penalties imposed under out-of-competition regulations.