LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Members of a Kentucky panel that oversees
drug rules for horse racing got into a lively discussion Tuesday
about whether the timing is right to tighten the reins on steroid
use among four-legged athletes.
With steroids getting increased national attention, particularly
for team sports such as baseball and football, the host state for
the Kentucky Derby is a high-profile holdout from a proposal to ban
or significantly limit the use of certain anabolic steroids in
Connie Whitfield, chairwoman of the state's Equine Drug Research
Council, said in the next three days she will organize a group of
leaders in the horse industry to distinguish fact from fiction in
the heated debate over steroid regulation.
"We need to get it right," Whitfield said. "We don't want to
be rushed to judgment and make a decision we'll regret later."
Numerous horse safety issues have come to the forefront in the
wake of the death of filly Eight Belles, who broke down and had to
be euthanized following her second-place finish in the Kentucky
Derby. A steroid test on Eight Belles came back negative, but drug
testing rules have been among those scrutinized by critics of the
horse racing industry.
While racetracks test for numerous performance-enhancing drugs,
steroids have not been a focus until recently.