FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear will implement new regulations for the use of medications in standardbred and thoroughbred horses despite a legislative panel's near unanimous vote against the controversial measure.
The Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations on Monday voted 19-1 against new regulations that ban secondary bleeding medications and regulates who can administer Lasix on race days.
The regulations are companions to a more controversial regulation that would ban the use of Lasix in graded stakes races beginning in 2014. The Lasix ban has not yet been before the legislature for a vote.
The drug furosemide, called Lasix or Salix, is used as an anti-bleeder medication but also is a potent diuretic.
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The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission voted 7-5 in June to ban the use of Lasix. But legislators expressed reservations Monday about the ban, saying there were many in the horse industry against it.
As governor, Beshear can override the legislature's "no" vote on regulations.
Beshear, in a letter to the legislature sent on Thursday, said that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission had held multiple public hearings about this issue and had studied the matter for more than a year.
"All of the regulations were approved unanimously by the relevant KHRC committees, and by the KHRC itself," Beshear said.
The regulations will go into effect Friday. "The interest of the industry demands that these well developed and fully vetted regulations go into effect as promulgated," Beshear said.
Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder, and co-chairman of the committee, was not available for comment Thursday.
The governor's action was praised by state Sen. Damon Thayer. The Georgetown Republican says it sends the message that Kentucky will be at the forefront of efforts to change perceptions about the use of drugs in horse racing.