New anti-doping rules and horse racing medications unveiled

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The fledgling Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Authority on Thursday released draft anti-doping and drug control regulations aimed at standardizing a sport that has operated for years under patchwork regulations in 38 racing states.

Since July, HISA has been working with the United States Anti-Doping Agency to develop rules that are now open for comment by the public, including those from the racing industry.

On December 6, the proposed rules are submitted to the Federal Trade Commission for public comment and FTC approval. If approved by the FTC and HISA, the rules would go into effect on July 1.


The most significant changes involve the consistent application of the rules in each state of racing and changing the way violations are handled.

“There would no longer be a myriad of different scenarios that question the whole system and its effectiveness,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in a video interview.

By the rules, the anti-bleeding drug Lasix would be banned on race day in all 2-year-old and high-stakes races, as well as other races. Last week, the 14 races of the Breeders’ Cup world championships were held for the first time without Lasix.

Primary substances, including anabolic steroids and erythropoietin (EPO) which can increase red blood cells and increase aerobic capacity, would be banned at all times.

Secondary substances such as anti-inflammatories and supplements would be banned on race day. Up to 48 hours before a race, horses could only be given water, hay and oats. From midnight on the day of the race, no prohibited substances could be detected.

According to the rules, a positive test, use or possession of a primary substance would be punishable by a suspension of up to two years or up to four years if there were aggravating circumstances or a second violation. within 10 years. A lifetime ban could be imposed for a third or more violation within 10 years.

A positive test, use or possession of a secondary substance could result in a sanction of up to 30 days of suspension and a fine. This could be extended for up to two years if there were aggravating circumstances or a fourth or more such violation within five years.

“This is one of the key steps in strengthening the future of horse racing in the United States,” said Tessa Muir, USADA Equine Program Director.

Like human athletes, horses could be tested anywhere and anytime without notice until they retired from racing for good.

Failure to inform HISA of a horse’s whereabouts can result in a penalty of up to one year. A technology still under development would make it possible to track the whereabouts of a horse, especially when it is enjoying an extended break from racing.

“It’s an inconvenience and a burden on people, and we understand that,” Tygart said, adding that at the same time, “the burden is not at all close to what our human athletes have to go through.”

Escape, adulteration, administration of a primary substance, trafficking, aiding and abetting and retaliation can result in a penalty of up to two years. Failure to cooperate and the administration of a secondary substance would be punished with a suspension of up to 30 days and a fine.

Horses can also be punished. Any infringement on race day will result in their automatic disqualification.

Owners, trainers and vets would be made aware of the rules through a combination of online and in-person training. Trainers would be required to register with HISA.

The Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act came into effect last January and established the power to enforce the legislation.

Opponents have filed lawsuits in Kentucky and Texas to prevent the law from being implemented.

“We are not blind to the fact that there were a few who never wanted the law passed and fought it tooth and nail. Unfortunately, this was a waste of valuable time and resources, ”Tygart said.

“You’re hoping we could eventually prove to them that this is the right thing. We are not going to let those who are stuck with the status quo or who are afraid of change stop this industry from moving forward. The long-term viability of the industry is at stake.

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