The California Horse Racing Board will vote in July on regulatory changes that would result in stricter penalties for anabolic steroids violations, and is soliciting public comment prior to a July 17 hearing at Del Mar.
The CHRB said written comments must be received by July 14.
Earlier, the board in effect banned all anabolic steroids in racing except for testosterone, boldenone, nandrolone, and stanozolol—all of which are approved by the Federal Drug Administration—by placing all of the other steroids in Class 2 or Class 3 penalty categories. Such violations call for severe sanctions, including automatic forfeiture of the purse and minimum 30-day suspensions for first-time offenders.
Under penalty guidelines to be implemented July 1, testosterone, boldenone, nandrolone, and stanozolol temporarily are listed as Class 4 substances. The proposed regulations move those four anabolic steroids into the stricter Class 3 penalty category.
The move to ban all anabolic steroids in California racing and the reclassification of all steroids into more serious penalty categories has met with no public opposition in the state.
Horses with a medical need for anabolic steroids still could be treated, but sufficient time must pass afterward for the administered drug to clear the system, otherwise a positive test could result. The rules take into account that certain steroids are naturally occurring—endogenous—in horses by establishing threshold levels.
Any anabolic steroid administered anytime close to a race would exceed the threshold levels and certainly would be detected in post-race samples, said Dr. Rick Arthur, the CHRB equine medical director, and Dr. Scott Stanley, director of the Ken Maddy Equine Analytical Laboratory, which performs all primary equine drug testing in California. The Maddy lab has been gearing up since early last year for the testing of anabolic steroids, which will begin July 1.