California bans steroids in racing

DEL MAR, Calif. — The California Horse Racing Board has unanimously adopted a regulation that effectively bans anabolic steroids in horses running in the state, paving the way for the Breeders' Cup to be run steroid-free this fall at Santa Anita.

The board moved the anabolic steroids testosterone, boldenone, nandrolone, and stanozolol into a higher classification, so that now, without exception, any steroid violation will result in the disqualification of the horse.

Under new penalties, violations could result in a minimum 30-day suspension.

”There is no place for anabolic steroids in competition sports, human or equine,“ CHRB Chairman Richard Shapiro said.

The new rules must still be approved by the Office of Administrative Law, which can take up to two months.

But the racing board expects the process to be completed well before the Breeders' Cup World Championships on Oct. 24-25 at Santa Anita in Arcadia. The board said it is working with Breeders' Cup and Santa Anita officials to spread the word that steroids will not be tolerated.

Among the board members who unanimously approved the change were actress Bo Derek and former A&M Records founder and Thoroughbred owner Jerry Moss.

Trainer Christopher Paasch attended Thursday's hearing at Del Mar racetrack and complimented the board for ”moving forward and stopping the steroid abuse.“

Steroid testing began July 1, and for now, the board will send out warnings to horsemen when testosterone, boldenone, nandrolone, and stanozolol are detected in official samples.

Shapiro and Dr. Rick Arthur, the board's equine medical director, said the steroid testing is going to lead to substantial sanctions for medication violations.

”It's going to be a different ball game in the future,“ Arthur said.

Meanwhile, the Aug. 17 conclusion of the San Mateo County Fair meeting will mark the finale of racing at Bay Meadows in Northern California. The San Mateo track is set for demolition later this year to make way for other uses.

Most of the racing dates assigned to Bay Meadows will be moved to Golden Gate Fields in the San Francisco suburb of Albany.