The Maryland Racing Commission, upon the recommendation of its Equine Safety, Health and Welfare Advisory Committee, has approved a motion to modify a regulation on five corticosteroids to eliminate testing threshold levels and employ level of detection for the substances.

The MRC took the action at its Sept. 23 meeting at Laurel Park. The change will be filed with emergency status and there will be a public comment period. Given the regulatory process involved in rule-making, it is anticipated the update regulation will be implemented Nov. 1.

The five corticosteroids are dexamethasone, prednisolone, betamethasone, isoflupredone and triamcinolone. The current 14-day stand-down period for intra-articular injections will remain in place under 2019 model rules approved by the Association of Racing Commissioners International and Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.

The Equine Health, Safety and Welfare Advisory Committee discussed the proposal at a Sept. 8 meeting as a result of several dexamethasone positives and reports the corticosteroid was being regularly administered by some veterinarians at 48 hours before a race at a lower dose rather than the RMTC-recommended 72-hour withdrawal time at the regular dose.

The committee also recommended that Maryland regulators, in an effort to educate vets and trainers, provide information on how long corticosteroids can linger in a horse’s system; advise against deviation from recommended administration times; and point out potential risks to the racehorse.