Steroids in the Spotlight

The Institute on Racing and Gaming Law held their eighth meeting at the Gideon Putnum Hotel this week to discuss the use of anabolic steroids and medications, and the role that the New York Racing Association will play in the horse racing industry in the future. With growing pressure from the public and other figures, steroids have been catapulted into the spotlight and have been the cause of heated debates. Some states and racing events, such as the upcoming Breeders’ Cup World Championships to be held on 24 and 25 October 2008, have taken a non-negotiable view and have banned steroid use.

To address the issue of anabolic steroids panels of experts where brought in to raise concerns, find solutions and to give accurate information in regard to the affects of steroids and to recommend alternatives to regulations and laws. The panels were therefore made up of horsemen, racing regulators and officials, veterinarians, legal advisors and people within the horse racing industry.

The first fact to consider in the steroids debate is that the specialists and professionals can discuss the topic all they want, but the reality of it is that the public demand and view of steroids is the deciding factor. According to the latest polls and surveys, it is clear that the public want steroid use prohibited from the sport, as they associate anabolic steroids with cheating and drugs. This perception has called all racing authorities into action, as ignoring the public outcry means losing their support. The Institute on Racing and Gaming Law therefore feels the need to enforce the rule that no steroids are allowed to be given to a horse within thirty days prior of their next start. If a horse needs to be administered an anabolic steroid within this time, it must be under the supervision of a veterinarian and the reason for the use of the drug and the diagnoses that led to the prescription of the drug needs to be reported by submitting documents completed by the treating veterinarian. To regulate the use of anabolic steroids and to ensure that the testing for the drugs is done, one set of rules and regulations should be adopted by all states. Different states determining which drugs to ban on their own accord has led to confusion within the industry, and the Institute on Racing and Gaming Law hopes that releasing one set of rules regarding steroid use will make the transition to the thirty day restriction and the monitoring thereof easier for racing authorities.

The use of anabolic steroids has been a topic of contention for years, but it seems that the reign of steroids is finally coming to an end. With the new regulations and rules, it is hoped that the horse racing industry will be positively influenced and that the support for horse racing will grow.