New York Bill Would OK Race-Day Bute

The use of phenylbutazone would be permitted on race days in New York under legislation recently proposed by Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, a Yonkers Raceway booster. In New York, the pain-killer can't be administered to a horse within 48 hours of a race.

The proposal faces an uphill battle, sources said, because it does not appear to have much backing from influential groups in the racing industry. Moreover, opponents said the bill would result in pre-race drug testing on Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds.

The legislation would permit the medication, known as Bute, if no more than five micrograms are present in a blood sample drawn from a horse before a race.

The medication is permitted under New York law 48 hours before a race. "But, the existing post-race test is incapable of determining the time a drug in the horse is administered, and is only able to tell us the quantity of the drug in the horse blood, (so) the current law is therefore irrational," says a memorandum filed by Prelow.

The bill is pending in the Assembly racing committee and has not been introduced in the Senate.
By Tom Precious