By: Tom Precious

Claims can be voided for additional race-day blood and urine positives for banned substances under a new rule approved July 25 by New York racing regulators.

The New York State Gaming Commission signed off on a revision to its claiming cancellation rule allowing a claimant to void a claim if any sample collected on race day—not only a post-race test—shows that a horse has been “impermissibly drugged.”

Current rules have allowed a claim to be canceled if a laboratory post-race test reveals that a horse was administered a banned substance. The provision of NYSGC regulations is intended to “ensure greater fairness in the claiming transactions,” according to the agency.

But last year the NYSGC also approved a sweeping anti-doping plan in which per se thresholds apply to all samples that are taken on a race day. As a result, officials said the new revision was needed to ensure conformity between the new per se rules and the claiming cancellation provisions.

The revised claiming rule was given preliminary approval in May and final approval July 25.

In a separate action, the NYSGC revised an existing rule relating to restricted time periods for administration of two drugs: the anti-inflammatory substance dimethyl sulphoxide, commonly known as DMSO, and diclofenac. The final version of the rule, a change from one the state agency first proposed last year, came following concerns raised by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.

The 2014 proposal sought to limit topical DMSO administration to 48 hours before a race, and reduce the restricted time for other administrations to seven days from 48 hours. Based on the comments by the two groups, as well as concurrence by state equine medical director Dr. Scott Palmer and drug testing and research lab director Dr. George Maylin, the 2014 plan was revised to permit topical DMSO use at any time, including on race day.

The New York THA had urged the agency to make DMSO rules consistent with those in other states, including Kentucky, Maryland, California, and Florida.

The board also made the administration of diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, subject to the agency’s per se threshold rules.