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Belmont Stakes 2008

Belmont, New York: horsemen at the track to be limited to 24 medications

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Regulators agree uniform medication regulation

USA: Horseracing regulators in eight states have committed to implement a medication and drug testing programme in what has been described as a move towards uniform regulation in North American racing.

A statement from the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association said the programme “represents the most dramatic change in medication regulation and testing in the last 50 years”.

The participating states - New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Massachusetts - will implement the 'Mid Atlantic Uniform Medication Program', which divides medications into two new categories, controlled therapeutic substances and prohibited substances.

The controlled therapeutic substances category will limit horsemen and veterinarians to 24 medications recognised as being appropriate for therapeutic use in racehorses to treat illness or injury.

The subject of medication in American racing hit the headlines again recently when the Breeders' Cup went back on a pledge to ban Lasix altogether for this year's event at Santa Anita, when the anti-bleeding medication will again be prohibited for only the two-year-old contests. Under the programme Lasix will be the only medication permitted to be administered on raceday.

National Thoroughbred Racing Association president and chief executive Alex Waldrop said: “The NTRA salutes the many organisations and individuals who worked on this important initiative.

"The programme creates an eminently viable blueprint for national uniformity of medication rules and drug testing, and the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance will do everything in its power to ensure its implementation.”

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