Indiana is moving forward with plans to implement regulation and testing of anabolic steroids in racehorses April 1.
There has been much talk regarding the uniform implementation of anabolic steroid regulations around the country. While the debate has been heated at times, several jurisdictions, including Indiana, plan to proceed with testing in racehorses this spring.
Indiana was the first state to adopt the model rule developed by the Racing and Medication Testing Consortium and Association of Racing Commissioners International.
“A number of states, Indiana included, are planning to move forward with plans this spring,” Indiana Horse Racing Commission executive director Joe Gorajec said. “Regulators in Indiana want to do and need to do the right thing. The right thing is to curtail the over-reliance on and abuse of anabolic steroids.”
The debate over regulation of anabolic steroids has centered on ongoing research to establish threshold levels and withdrawal times, as well as the differences in regulations from state to state. Indiana, for instance, will begin testing in April; other states may not be ready until late this year.
The first Thoroughbred meet of the year in Indiana begins April 25 at Indiana Downs. A 45-day grace period will be in place; trainers will be notified of overages but will not be assessed a penalty under the Indiana plan.
There has been concern in the Midwest over state-by-state implementation of steroids regulation. For instance, many Kentucky- and Ohio-based horses race at Indiana Downs, but neither state has steroids regulations in place and probably won’t until later this year.
The Indiana rules also apply to harness racing. Hoosier Park opens its live harness meet in April.
RCI president Ed Martin issued a statement Feb. 1 stating that if horsemen want a uniform implementation date “they can set their own voluntary compliance date” of April 1. Gorajec agrees and said he believes there is not only widespread use of anabolic steroids, but also abuse.
“It’s obviously difficult for some trainers and practitioners who have over-relied on this for a long period of time to change their business practices,” Gorajec said. “Over the next several months, horsemen who have used anabolic steroids as routine maintenance of a horse will have to change their practice. You don’t need a regulation to curtail use.”