Moving closer to an outright ban of steroid use in harness racing, the Delaware Harness Racing Commission expects to vote making the practice illegal at its Nov. 12 meeting.
“Ours will be very close to the thoroughbred and Pennsylvanian bans,” said Hugh Gallagher, administrator of racing for the Delaware Harness Racing Commission, referring to the steroid ban the Delaware Thoroughbred Commission put into effect in April 2008.
“A horse is a horse and it doesn’t have to do whether it’s a thoroughbred or standardbred,” he said.
Minimal permissible levels of four steroids — Boldenone, Testosterone, Nandrolone and Stanazolol — will be allowed but Gallagher said all other substances will be prohibited. The four allowable steroids include some that naturally occur in horses and others used to treat illness or ailments. Their levels will be determined at the November meeting, he said.
A progressive scale of penalties also will be voted on at the meeting and Gallagher said racing commission would release the information at that time.
Once passed, the ban will go into effect April 1, 2009. The Dover Downs harness racing season recently began and Gallagher said the ban will be effective for the tail end of the meet.
In a press release issued by the Delaware Department of Agriculture, spokeswoman Anne Fitzgerald said, “All horsemen are advised to cease from administering any/all anabolic/androgenic steroids in this jurisdiction.”
Gallagher said commission representatives have been notifying horsemen of the decision and it has been well received by those who’ve attended the meetings.
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