Jim Gallagher, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.

Jim Gallagher, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.

Oak Tree at Santa Anita

New Drug Penalty Regulation in Kentucky Expires

A 90-day emergency regulation governing infractions of Kentucky equine medication rules expired Feb. 15 and the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority reverted back to the old rules that were previously in place.

The new regulation expired after a legislative subcommittee declined to give final approval two days before it expired. According to published reports, some members of the General Assembly Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee had concerns that the regulations do not provide horsemen and veterinarians with sufficient guidance on what would constitute a violation for most therapeutic medications. The subcommittee will reconsider the emergency rule at its March meeting.

At issue is what constitutes drug positives when trace amounts of therapeutic medications are detected in post-race tests. In an effort to provide trainers and vets with guidelines aimed at precluding the presence of trace amounts in tests, the state Equine Drug Research Council, an advisory body to the KHRA, adopted an attachment to the new penalties that include withdrawal times for about 50 therapeutic drugs and threshold levels for nine such drugs.

James Gallagher, executive director of the racing authority, said the regulatory body considered seeking another emergency regulation but decided it would be too hasty to try to get something done before the expiration date. He also said it was not a major issue because the new drug regulations remained in place and it was only the penalties that were affected.

"It has nothing to do with the medication rule itself, but it is how you handle infractions," Gallagher said. "You are still working under the new drug regulations."

He said reverting back to the old penalty regulation "was basically seemless to the licensee."