|Anabolic Steroid Testing, Changes in
Allowable Toe Grabs Rule Underway
As of January 1, 2009, the
Texas Racing Commission (TxRC) began testing horses racing in Texas for
anabolic steroids under the Commission’s existing rule authority.
As a result, horsemen should no longer administer anabolic steroids to
any horse intended for competition. Also starting on January 1, the Commission
instructed the racetrack associations to use House Rules to limit front
toe grabs on Thoroughbred or Arabian horses to two millimeters and on
Quarter Horses, Paint Horses, or Appaloosas to four millimeters.
For a complete list of medication levels permissible in post-race samples
for horses racing in Texas, click here.
The Commission is undergoing the rule making process to adopt the Racing
Commissioners’ International (RCI) model rule on anabolic steroid
testing and a comprehensive rule to address limitations on toe grabs and
other traction devices. The following rules were approved by the Commission
at its December 2, 2008 meeting. After receiving public comment, the rules
will be ready for final adoption in February of 2009. This schedule will
allow the Commission to adopt specific threshold concentrations for anabolic
steroids that would be consistent with study results and national uniform
guidelines. It also will meet the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association
(TOBA) ’s recommended schedule for maintaining graded stakes races:
Toe Grabs Rule:
Texas Racing Commission
Title 16, Part VIII
Chapter 313. Officials and Rules of Horse Racing
Subchapter D. Running of the Race
Sec. 313.426. Toe Grabs Prohibited
(a) A Thoroughbred or Arabian horse is ineligible to start in a race when
it has shoes (racing plates) that have toe grabs wih a height greater
than two millimeters (0.07874 inches), bends, jar calks, stickers, or
any other traction device on the front hooves.
(b) A Quarter Horse, Paint Horse, or Appaloosa is ineligible to start
in a race when it has shoes (racing plates) that have toe grabs with a
height greater than four millimeters (0.15748 inches), bends, jar calks,
stickers, or any other traction device on the front hooves.
Androgenic-Anabolic Steroid Rule:
Texas Racing Commission
Title 16, Part VIII
Chapter 319. Veterinary Practices and Drug Testing
Subchapter D. Drug Testing
Sec. 319.364. Testing for Androgenic-Anabolic Steroids
(1) No androgenic-anabolic steroids shall be permitted in test sample
collected from racing horses except for residues of the major metabolite
of stanozolol, nandrolone, and the naturally occurring substances boldenone
and testosterone at concentrations less than the indicated thresholds.
(2) Concentrations of these androgenic-anabolic steroids shall not exceed
the following urine threshold concentrations for total (i.e., free drug
or metabolite and drug or metabolite liberated from its conjugates):
(a) 16ß-hydroxystanozolol (metabolite of stanozolol (Winstrol))
- 1 ng/ml in urine for all horses regardless of sex;
(b) Boldenone (Equipoise® is the undeclyenate ester of boldenone)
in male horses other than geldings - 15 ng/ml in urine. No boldenone
shall be permitted in geldings or female horses.
(c) Nandrolone (Durabolin® is the phenylpropionate ester and Deca-Durabolin®
is the decanoate ester)
(A) In geldings - 1 ng/ml in urine
(B) In fillies and mares - 1 ng/ml in urine
(A) In geldings - 20 ng/ml in urine
(B) In fillies and mares - 55 ng/ml in urine
(3) Any other anabolic steroids are prohibited in racing horses.
(4) Post-race urine samples must have the sex of the horse identified
to the laboratory.
(5) Any horse to which an anabolic steroid has been administered in
order to assist in the recovery from an illness or injury may be placed
on the veterinarian's list in order to monitor the concentration of the
drug or metabolite in urine. After the concentration has fallen below
the designated threshold for the administered androgenic-anabolic steroids,
the horse is eligible to be removed from the list.
It is understood that the first 30-60 days of testing will be considered
a launch period, during which time the Commission will be fully evaluating
the test results and be cautious in calling positives. During the launch
period, the Commission is most concerned with results that show an obvious
disregard for the rules. Commission staff will use this opportunity to
counsel owners and trainers and may issue warning letters about any marginal
test results to promote full understanding and compliance with the new
program. For significant or repetitive overages for horses owned or trained
by the same individual, hearings may take place to address rule violations
with appropriate penalties, including loss of purse, fines, and/or suspensions
in keeping with a Class 4 drug violation.
In order to give local horsemen at Retama Park, the only racetrack in
Texas currently conducting live racing, some lead time to remove their
horses from steroids, a horsemen’s meeting took place at Retama
Park on November 6, 2008 at which time the TxRC’s director of racing,
John Ferrara, answered questions and confirmed plans leading to the January
1, 2009 start of testing.
According to Charla Ann King, Executive Director of the Texas Racing
Commission, the Commission has been studying the use and impact of anabolic
steroids on racehorses through its Safety and Medication Working Group.
In coordination with the industry, the Commission has conducted an anabolic
steroid study based on 40 on-track horses in training. The results of
this study as well as other states studies are pending. Further modifications
and refinements to the RCI model rule on anabolic steroid testing may
be proposed based on the results of these studies.
The proposed new rules have been published in The Texas Register.
Comments on the proposed new rule may be submitted to Carolyn Weiss, assistant
to the Executive Director of the Texas Racing Commission, at P. O. Box
12080, Austin, TX 78711-2080, by phoning (512) 833-6699 or faxing (512)
833-6907 no later than January 18. The TxRC will consider adoption of
the rules at its February 3 meeting.