NYSGC begins rule-making process on clenbuterol restrictions

Posted: Dec. 2, 2020

The New York State Gaming Commission Nov. 30 approved a host of regulations tied to Thoroughbred racing, including one that greatly restricts use of the bronchodilator clenbuterol.

The proposed clenbuterol regulation, which will undergo a public comment period, dovetails with action taken by other states in the region through the work of the Mid-Atlantic Strategic Plan to Reduce Equine Fatalities.

The rule-making proposal on clenbuterol, a substance that has been regulated for years in New York, requires written regulatory approval before a horse in racing or training can be treated with clenbuterol. Treated horses will be placed on the veterinarian’s list and won’t be permitted to race until they test negative for clenbuterol in blood and urine.

The current rule in New York allows a Thoroughbred to race 14 days following administration of clenbuterol.

Clenbuterol is approved for use in horses only to treat lower airway disease. NYSGC Executive Director Robert Williams noted that it also has a “repartitioning effect that causes the body to build more muscle and reduce the fat content of the body. This effect may last for two months after a treatment is discontinued.”

In other action at the meeting:

The NYSGC adopted a rule restricting administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in Thoroughbreds such that only one NSAID can be administered the week before a horse races. No comments were received during a public comment period that ended Nov. 2.

The previous rule permitted the use of two NSAIDs from a list of six as long as one was not used within 96 hours of a race and the other was not administered within 48 hours of a race. The rule also implements stricter testing thresholds for two commonly used NSAIDs, one of which is phenylbutazone.

The NYSGC adopted a rule that requires Thoroughbred trainers to keep a record of medications administered by a trainer after they are dispensed by veterinarians. The rule exempts anti-ulcer medications and requires trainers to maintain records and make them available for inspection for six months.

Two regulations regarding furosemide, commonly known as Lasix, were adopted by the commission. One allows a horse to be removed from the Lasix-eligible list for the limited purpose of running in a non-Lasix race and allows the horse to return to the list without incurring a mandatory layoff. The other requires trainers to maintain a record of “serious” exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage episodes as defined by a grading system of 1 to 4 and epistaxis—bleeding from the nostrils.

“The most salient portions of this rule requires that a horse that experienced a series EIPH episode must be subjected to another endoscopic examination following its next race or workout and requires trainers to provide such information to subsequent owners, or their agents, within 48 hours of a request for information unless the commission has collected and provided the information such as visible bleeding from the nostrils,” Williams said.