How new proposed rules would deter horse racing’s drug cheats

Trainer still furious about Maximum Security DQ in Kentucky Derby; Belmont Stakes next?Thoroughbred racing’s drug cheats would face stiffer sanctions, stronger deterrents and surprise testing if a set of proposed rules announced Thursday are adopted.

Negotiations between the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency have yet to yield a contract or put a price on streamlining the sport’s drug enforcement, but the rules released for public feedback anticipate a more vigorous, centralized and consistent model than the patchwork arrangement that currently exists among America’s 38 racing jurisdictions.

Positive tests involving prohibited substances would be subject to multiyear suspensions: two years for a first offense; up to four years in the event of aggravating circumstances or for a second violation within 10 years.

Therapeutic medications banned only on race day could trigger a 30-day suspension and up to a 2-year ban in the event of aggravating circumstances or a fourth violation within a five-year period.

Race-day violations would mean automatic disqualification for the horse.

These penalties are potentially more punitive than those currently imposed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. According to the KHRC’s guidelines, a first offense involving a Class C drug such as betamethasone calls for a suspension of no more than 10 days for the responsible trainer…

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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