Delaware Park Banning Racehorse Steroid Use

Efforts by regulators in the Mid-Atlantic region to ban the use of steroids in racehorses continued Dec. 14 with an announcement by the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission that the substances would be outlawed when Delaware Park opens for live racing in 2008.

Commission executive director John Wayne told the Delaware Department of Agriculture, which oversees the commission, that horsemen would be advised of the ban on anabolic and androgenic steroids. Commonly used steroids include boldenone (Equipoise), stanozolol (Winstrol), nandrolone (Durabolin), and testosterone, all of which are governed by the Racing and Medication Testing Consortium model rule being implemented in various states.

Delaware Park is scheduled to begin its 2008 meet April 19. The racing commission said it would have rules and regulations in place well before the start of the meet.

"It takes up to 120 days for a horse to clear steroids from their system," Wayne said in a statement. "This advance warning gives horsemen adequate time, actually in excess of the 120-day recommended withdrawal time."

The Delaware Harness Racing Commission, which oversees racing at Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway, would have to issue its own ban for Standardbred racing.

The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission and Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission made similar announcements in late November. Other regulatory agencies in the region are expected to follow suit; Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia all agreed to formulate a uniform plan for regulation of steroids.

The goal of the RMTC and state regulators is to stop the use of anabolic steroids on race day, and the published three-month withdrawal time for the substances would accomplish that. Steroids still could be used for therapeutic purposes, but obviously well in advance of race day given the new regulations.

(Originally published at  

About the Author

Tom LaMarra

Tom LaMarra, a native of New Jersey and graduate of Rutgers University, has been news editor at The Blood-Horse since 1998. After graduation he worked at newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as an editor and reporter with a focus on municipal government and politics. He also worked at Daily Racing Form and Thoroughbred Times before joining The Blood-Horse. LaMarra, who has lived in Lexington since 1994, has won various writing awards and was recognized with the Old Hilltop Award for outstanding coverage of the horse racing industry. He likes to spend some of his spare time handicapping races.

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