New Mexico Implements Tougher Penalties for Drug Abuse

The penalties went into effect on June 29.

Press release

The New Mexico Racing Commission has implemented tougher penalties for drug abuse.

The New Mexico Racing Commission on June 23 voted unanimously to implement a new rule to be used as a tool to fight drug abuse in the horse racing industry.

The implementation of this rule by the NMRC and support from the New Mexico Horse Breeders Association, the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association, and all track managements in New Mexico, shows the united front the local industry has in battling its issues.

"In all my time spent regulating horse racing in other jurisdictions, never have I experienced such unity amongst all stakeholders in creating an environment that is best for horse racing and the horse itself,” said commission executive director Ismael "Izzy" Trejo.

The new rule, written by commission medical director Dr. Scot Waterman, will fall under section 15.2.6 D.5. of the New Mexico Administrative Code (NMAC). The rule states that: Any horse that is subject of a positive test report from the official laboratory for a drug in one of the following categories shall be placed immediately on the stewards list;
1. Any drug categorized by the association of racing commissioner’s international “uniform classification guidelines for foreign substances and recommended penalties and model rule” incorporated by reference under NMAC 15.2.6.9 as a Penalty Class A substance
2. Any prohibited anabolic androgenic steroid or any anabolic androgenic steroid in excess of the permitted concentrations listed pursuant to NMAC 15.2.6.9
3. Clenbuterol or other beta-agonist drugs with significant anabolic effects that are not currently Penalty Class A drugs.
4. Other drugs designed to promote growth or muscle, including but not limited to growth hormones, somatotropins, insulin growth factors and gene modifying agents.
5. Cobalt in excess of allowable concentrations specified, pursuant to NMAC 15.2.6.9.

The new rule mandates that the horse stays on the stewards list for a minimum of 60 days. After the 60 days is up, the owner or trainer of the horse must present the horse to the test barn for the official veterinarian to obtain a blood sample for analysis. If the sample comes back positive for any of the prohibited substances previously mentioned, the horse shall remain on the stewards list for an additional 60 days. If the analysis comes back negative, the horse will be removed from the stewards list and be permitted to enter and run in races once again.

The new rule will have a positive effect on different facets of the industry, most importantly the welfare of the horse and the gambler.

“Those that wager on horse racing must be confident that the form of the horse is based on its true athletic ability and not based on the use of performance enhancing substances," said Dr. Waterman. "The placement of the horse on the stewards list will remove the horse from the racing population for a period of time necessary to ensure the effect of the drug is no longer present by the time the horse is allowed to race again, thereby protecting the betting public and other participants in the race.”

The new rule went into effect at approximately 3 p.m. (MDT)  on June 29.

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