Pennsylvania: New Clenbuterol Restrictions And Illegal Drugs Found In Barn Searches

At its virtual meeting May 25, the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission unanimously approved new restrictions on clenbuterol use. While previously the drug carried a 2 picogram per milliliter threshold, any detectable level of the medication will be considered a violation if the administration does not meet certain requirements. Administrations must come as the result of a prescription made for a specific horse for a specific diagnosis and the prescribing veterinarian must report the horse’s identity and diagnosis to the commission. The prescribing veterinarian may be asked for a copy of the prescription also. Trainers must also report the administration to the commission.

Treatment periods for clenbuterol may run no more than 30 days, and horses will go on the veterinarian’s list after treatment. They may be required to pass a drug test for clenbuterol before being allowed to enter a race. The idea of the new regulations, according to executive director Tom Chuckas, is not to ban the substance’s use in all racing horses but to prevent it being in horses’ system at race time.

The new regulations will apply to Thoroughbreds only.

Representatives of both the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Pennsylvania HBPA expressed support for the new measures, as did the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association.

Samuel Beegle, president of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association, sounded less enthusiastic.

“I think you’re digging a hole for yourself,” was Beegle’s only comment to the commission prior to the vote.

Clenbuterol, commonly known by its trade name of Ventipulmin syrup, is an effective treatment for common respiratory ailments in the horse but can also have anabolic steroid-like effects.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Chuckas revealed that barn searches had resumed at Parx after being significantly reduced during COVID-19, and produced some disturbing results during a series of raids last weekend.

“We did six total barn searches, six tack room searches,” he said. “In addition to that, we looked at five grooms’ quarters and five external tack rooms. We did 66 out-of-competition tests. In our enforcement action, I can say without getting into too much detail, a significant amount of contraband was discovered dealing with medications, either unlabeled, compounded, or expired.

“I regret to say that there were contraband items that have no business on the backside, like needles and syringes and some other things that we discovered. Be advised, many of these carry an active investigation … so I’m somewhat confined in what I can share. The fact of the matter is Parx is the first step in this process … moving forward I think it’s fair to say the other tracks will receive the same enforcement action.”

There were 25 scratches from Tuesday’s card at Parx, including nine stewards’ scratches, though it remains clear if those are connected to the results of the raids, which Thoroughbred Daily News reports took place over the weekend. Trainer Richard Vega saw all three of his entries scratched by stewards. Vega has trained horses for Dun Roamin Farm, which is the nom de course for Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association president Sal DeBunda, who represents the THA as a member of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission. DeBunda did not appear during Tuesday’s online meeting.

According to laws passed in 2015, Thoroughbred horsemen and breeders’ representatives on the commission hold veto power on the hiring of a director, adoption of regulations including medication rules, and approval or denial of licenses to operate race meetings.

The post Pennsylvania: New Clenbuterol Restrictions And Illegal Drugs Found In Barn Searches appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.