New York regulators have altered the state's equine medication rules to bring them more in compliance with other states, but they have refused to join states that permit administration of more race-day drugs.
"This is a real advance in modernizing the rules and making them more consistent regionally and nationally," New York State Racing and Wagering Board chairwoman Cheryl Buley said. "(The rules) are tough but fair."
Buley said New York held its ground by declining to permit drugs other than the bleeder medication Salix on race day. Kentucky and most states in the Mid-Atlantic region also allow use of adjunct bleeder medications on race day.
The board changed the minimum levels of Salix that can be given to horses on race day from a minimum of 5 milliliters to 3 milliliters. Previously, the rule permitted between 5 milliliters and 10 milliliters to be administered. Officials said the new rule better takes into account the variation in weight of horses.
"The horsemen need to have the ability to administer less than 3 CCs of (Salix) when necessary," board commissioner Michael Hoblock said of higher levels that have proven dangerous to some horses.
The board also increased from 24 hours to 48 hours the ban period for use of ketoprofen. As a result, the 24-hour cutoff for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs now pertains only to phenylbutazone and flunixin. The board also adopted a list of 96-hour medications. The rules can be viewed at the New York State Racing and
"New York has long been a leading racing state in drug detection and enforcement, testing for more drugs than any other in the country," Buley said. "We strive to do what is in the best interests of the welfare of the horse and to ensure public trust in the sport."