Committee wants steroids ban

Steroids should be banned from horse racing in Kentucky, an industry subcommittee says.

The recommendation from a subcommittee of the state Equine Drug Research Council will now go to the council and then could be considered by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission at its August meeting.

The recommendation is not meant to stop the use of steroids in veterinary care of horses, but they should not be allowed in racing, the committee statement said.

Committee members had very little debate over the topic, said Dr. Mary Scollay, the commission's medical director who served on the committee.

“I don't believe it was the role of the subcommittee to craft specific language,” she said. “I think we viewed our role as putting forward the tone or philosophy that we believe should move forward.”

Scollay said the recommendation would include Standardbred and quarter-horse racing as well as Thoroughbreds.

Steroids are now legal at Kentucky tracks and in most other states, but the issue caused an uproar after the trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, Rick Dutrow, revealed he regularly used a steroid called Winstrol on Big Brown and other horses.

The drugs are banned in Europe and more recently were prohibited by the auction houses of Fasig Tipton and Keeneland within 45 days of a sale.

On Monday, the commission recommended a limit on toe grabs on front horseshoes. A committee is also looking at whips and track surfaces in conjunction with other industry groups trying to decrease the rates of catastrophic injuries in racehorses.