The state of Kentucky sent out word late Friday to horse trainers looking to race here: stop using steroids now.
Gov. Steve Beshear signed an emergency regulation banning the use of anabolic steroids in Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses, effective immediately.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
"This is a historic day in Kentucky racing," Beshear said in a statement. "This action demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the integrity of racing and the safety of its competitors."
The move comes in the wake of this year's controversial Kentucky Derby, won by Big Brown apparently while legally on a now-prohibited steroid.
While the ban takes effect now, trainers get a 90-day grace period. Testing will begin in 30 days, with the Keeneland fall meet. Trainers will be notified of positive test results but there will be no penalty assessed.
Positive tests in the last 90 days of the grace period could result in penalties if the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission investigators find reason to suspect that trainers ignored the grace period and administered steroids after the ban was announced Friday.
A late positive could also be considered an aggravating factor in future incidents. First offenses will result in a suspension of up to 60 days, but an aggravating factor could increase that penalty.
The new drug rule sets acceptable levels, based on the sex of the horse, of three naturally occurring steroids, boldenone, nandrolone and testosterone.
Horses can still be given steroids therapeutically, but they can't race for 60 days afterward, must notify the racing commission and must present a clean test result.
More information on the regulation is available at www.khra.ky.gov.