Anne M. Eberhardt

Kentucky Updates Testing, Claiming Rules

If a horse is placed on the vet's list, any claim will be voided.

In approving an updated standard to its out-of-competition drug testing, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission required horses who receive anabolic steroids to go on the vet's list for at least six months.

The change is in line with the model rule on anabolic steroids approved in late 2016 by the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

Previously the KHRC required such treatments to be reported and horses not race for at least 60 days after the treatment and then produce a clean test. The new rule would continue to require that such treatments be reported while effectively keeping a horse who has received a steroid treatment out of racing for at least six months.

A number of states are expected to make similar updates to their anabolic steroid rules to move into line with the model rule, which has the support of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.

Kentucky also is updating its out-of-competition rules to require treatment records of substances such as clenbuterol, thyroxine, and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). While these substances have recognized therapeutic use in horses, there also are big concerns about their abuse. Updated out-of-competition testing targets such abuse while the reporting requirement would allow for any therapeutic use.

KHRC general counsel John Forgy said the rule followed much thought and discussion at the committee level. One addition that followed that discussion is the ability of veterinarians to receive permission to use a non-FDA approved drug for a horse not in training, if they first come to the commission to seek approval of its use.

Commission member Bret Jones noted that with the added requirements of reporting, KHRC staff should work to facilitate a protocol that is not too burdensome on vets to provide that added transparency.

The KHRC also approved new claiming rule protections that will not make the transfer to a new owner official until after the horse has left the testing barn. In that time if the horse who has been claimed is injured during the race or is placed on the vet's list after the race, the claim will be voided.

Under the new rule, any horse who is claimed will be subject to post-race testing. If a horse later fails a drug test for a Class A, B, or C substance, the new owner has the option of voiding the claim.

Forgy said the rule aims to support the long-term health of the horse by deterring individuals from entering compromised horses into races with the hope of having the horse claimed.

Horsemen who put in a claim and do not wish to be subject to a void if the horse is placed on the vet's list will be able to check a box to say they want the horse whether it is placed on the vet's list or not. This option was put in place for owners who are claiming a broodmare prospect and don't plan to race their new horse.