Delaware moves forward with equine health and safety regulations

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: April 15, 2020

The Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission April 15 said several proposed regulations tied to equine health and safety have been published for public comment and are expected to be adopted in May before the start of the Delaware Park racing season.

The regulations, which largely stem from the Mid-Atlantic Strategic Plan to Reduce Equine Fatalities, were published in the April 1 Delaware Registry of Regulations and are subject to a 30-day comment period. The DTRC can adopt them after they are republished in final form.

The following are the regulations, some by Association of Racing Commissioners International reference, that have been published.

Bisphosphonates:

It would become a prohibited practice to administer bisphosphonates to any horse under 4 years of age, and administration to a horse 4 years old or older must be reported to a racing commission veterinarian within 24 hours of administration. The horse would be placed on the vet’s list for a minimum of six months after the last administration, and prior to a return to racing must work for the commission veterinarian.

If any bisphosphonate is detected in an out-of-competition or post-race sample and the racing commission has not received timely notification, the detection will be treated as a finding of an illicit substance.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs:

No NSAIDs can be administered within 48 hours of a race. The presence of two or more non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—flunixin, banamine, ketoprofen, diclofenac, firocoxib and phenylbutazone—in blood and/or urine constitutes an NSAID stacking violation. Only one NSAID can be present in a post-race test sample below established thresholds.

If more than one NSAID is detected in a post-race sample above the established thresholds, it is considered stacking and is a medication violation subject to penalty.

Intra-articular joint injections:

The administration of any intra-articular injection is restricted to 14 days before a horse is anticipated to run, and the attending veterinarian must report the injection to the racing commission veterinarian. The detection of more than one corticosteroid is considered a violation.

Electrolytes:

Electrolytes may be administered to a horse within 24 hours prior to the scheduled post time for the first race so long as they do not contain any other drug or create a positive test under the racing commission’s drug-testing program.

The DTRC also adopted a house rule that requires administration of race-day Lasix 4 to 4½ hours before a race. Administration previously cut off at 3½ hours, officials said.

Delaware Park is scheduled to begin its 2020 meet May 27, but because of ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, officials at the April 15 said they date is a moving target.