Testing for anabolic steroids in racehorses in Kentucky will begin with the start of the Keeneland fall meet under emergency regulations signed by Gov. Steve Beshear Sept. 5.
The regulations, approved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission in August, are now in effect under the Beshear order. The regulations pertain to the commonly used steroids boldenone, nandrolone, and testosterone.
For the first 30 days of the ban, no testing will be performed, according to a KHRC memo issued Sept. 5. Turfway Park is open during that period. For the next month, which encompasses the Keeneland meet, tests for steroids will be done as part of regular post-race testing; owners and trainers will be notified of positive tests but no penalties will be given.
In the final month of the grace period, when Churchill Downs is open for its fall meet, a positive test will bring an investigation to determine when the steroids were administered. Action will be taken if it is determined steroids were administered after the ban took effect.
The regulations pertain to Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing.
"This is a historic day in Kentucky racing," Beshear said in a statement. "This action demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the integrity of racing and the safety of its competitors."
The KHRC is advising veterinarians to discontinue administering anabolic steroids immediately unless they are being used for therapeutic purposes and the horses in question will not race for at least 60 days. Officials said the grace period isn't intended to allow for continued use of steroids.
"It should not be interpreted as a steroid-permissive period prior to the implementation of the rule and the associated consequences for its violation," the KHRC said in its memo. "A positive test result during the grace period may be considered an aggravating factor for positive post-race anabolic steroid tests that occur after the grace period has ended."
Many out-of-state horses will ship to Kentucky to race this fall. According to the KHRC, trainers of those horses can submit treatment reports and follow the therapeutic-use protocol; certify that horses haven't been administered anabolic steroids within the previous 60 days; or for horses that have not been in the care and control of the trainer for a full 60 days, the trainer must certify that anabolic steroids have not been administered while the horse was in his or her care, and the trainer accepts responsibility should the presence of steroids be detected in a post-race sample.
Anyone claiming a horse can request the claimed horse be tested. If the test results are positive for anabolic steroids, the claimant has the option of voiding the claim and returning the horse to its original trainer.
The testing, however, must be performed immediately post race through the KHRC and paid for by the claimant.
(Originally published at BloodHorse.com.)
Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.