Updated corticosteroid regulation now in effect in Maryland

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Nov. 22, 2021

The Maryland Racing Commission’s equine drug-testing laboratory is now employing limit of detection—the lowest level a lab can confidently determine that a substance is in a sample—for five corticosteroids. The updated regulation took effect Nov. 1.

The five corticosteroids are dexamethasone, prednisolone, betamethasone, isoflupredone and triamcinolone. The current 14-day stand-down period for intra-articular injections will remain in place under 2019 model rules approved by the Association of Racing Commissioners International and Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.

The MRC Equine Health, Safety and Welfare Advisory Committee discussed the proposed changes during a Sept. 8 meeting as a result of several dexamethasone positives and reports the corticosteroid was being regularly administered by some veterinarians at 48 hours before a race at a lower dose rather than the RMTC-recommended 72-hour withdrawal time at the regular dose.

The MRC approved the regulation, which went through an emergency approval process, later in September.