Chairman Hopes Kentucky is Medication Model

The chairman of the Kentucky Racing Commission said Sept. 13 he hopes a revised race-day medication policy for the Bluegrass state becomes a model for the rest of the country as it pushes toward uniformity in racehorse medication and drug testing.

The proposal, which reduces the number of permitted race-day medications from 16 to five, probably will be on the agenda at the Sept. 24 Kentucky Racing Commission meeting.

"I'm calling it a restructuring of our medication policy," commission chairman Frank Shoop said. "We're working on the draft right now. We do plan to have it finalized by the next commission meeting. We've been talking to industry groups and gaining support."

The push for national uniformity began in earnest late last year with the first Racehorse Medication Summit. Since that time, Kentucky has upgraded its drug-testing procedures and began working on a revised medication policy.

When asked if he believes the revised Kentucky policy could serve as national model, Shoop said: "That is one my goals. I'm very interested in a uniform, race-day medication policy, and I thought that by doing this, it would make Kentucky a catalyst for some positive change."

Kentucky has been the lightning rod in the debate over development of uniform medication rules because it allows the most race-day medications of any jurisdiction. In the nine months since the Racehorse Medication Summit in Tucson, Ariz., the only race-day medication a national committee has endorsed is furosemide (Salix, formerly Lasix).

Research into the use and affect of other substances continues under the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. No decisions have been made to seek bans on any therapeutic medications.

Under the Kentucky proposal, the race-day therapeutics on the approved list are:

- No more than two NSAIDs, namely phenylbutazone (Butazolidin) and flunixin meclofenamic acid (Banamine), naproxen, or ketoprofen.

- No more than one steroidal anti-inflammatory agent such as prednisolone, dexamethasone, prednisone, or triamcinolone.

- Furosemide and aminocaproic acid (amicar), both of which can be used to treat exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage.

Stimulants, local anesthetics, depressants, tranquilizers, masking and interfering agents, milkshakes, and possession or use of erythropoietin (EPO) and related substances would be prohibited, as they are now.