Beshear overrides Kentucky legislative vote on medication reform

by | 08.30.2012 | 5:48pm

In a highly anticipated move, Kentucky Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear said he is overriding the vote taken earlier this week by the state legislature's Interim Joint Committee of Licensing and Occupations that rejected three key changes in medication rules approved earlier this year by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

“In order to protect the integrity of horse racing and the safety of the horses and jockeys in the Commonwealth,” a press release stated, “Gov. Steve Beshear announced today that he would implement administration regulations regarding Thoroughbred and Standardbred medications.

“In a letter to the Legislative Research Commission, Gov. Beshear noted that the proposed regulations were the result of more than a year of work by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, which held nearly a dozen public meetings that included partcipants from all areas of the horse industry, such as veterinarians, trainers, and owners.”

The regulations – drafted as model rules by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium – require third-party or commission veterinarians to administer Lasix on race-day (instead of a trainer's private veterinarian), ban the race-day use of adjunct bleeder medications, and lower the allowed threshold level for the anti-inflammatory phenylbutazone.

Monday's 19-1 committee vote, orchestrated by the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and its one-time honoree as “man of the year,” Democratic Rep. Larry Clark, ignited a firestorm of protest from supporters of medication reform. The Kentucy HBPA's president, Rick Hiles, indicated the defeat meant it was unlikely the KHRC's efforts to phase out Lasix in stakes races, beginning with 2-year-olds of 2014, would get through the legislative process.

“All of the regulations were approved unanimously by the relevant KHRC committes, and by the KHRC staff,” Beshear said. “The regulations were heard by the Administrative Regulation and Review Subcommittee without objection from any member of the committee. The interest of the industry demands that these well developed and fully vetted regulations go into effect as promulgated.”

In his letter to the Legislative Research Commission, Beshear wrote: “Members of the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, veterinarians, trainers, owners, and other licensed participants in Kentucky horse racing attended and participated in those meetings. Valuable input was gathered at these meetings, which the KHRC took into consideration in finalizing the proposed amendments.”

The press release from the governor's offie said the regulations go into effect Friday (Aug. 31).  The KHRC will issue an advisory detailing how and when the new regulations will be implemented.

  • David

    Someone might want to broach the subject with the Governor that perhaps the fix was on and to check around a bit.  Am I the only one struck by irony of Kentucky electing to put the racing industry at risk by inaction (re alternative gaming) now attempting a pro-active, magnanimous gesture to clean up the business, one which would almost certainly create even more exposure for the industry it’s allegedly trying to help?  What exactly is that?

  • Tonilee

    Finally someone grows a pair.

  • nu-fan

    I applaud Gov. Beshear for the courage he has shown in overriding the decision made earlier this past week.  There will always be some give and take with any change.  And, these chages will be amended from time to time.  Some may ask why he is taking this action now?  I don’t know but suspect that he is very much aware that these proposed changes were supported by very influential groups within the horseracing industry.  He may, also, have seen that other states are starting to implement changes in regulations related to medications.  He’s no dummy.  He can stick his head in the sand or stand up straight.  Which would get him re-elected?  The public is getting far more educated and horseracing decisions can no longer be hidden in the shadows of the track by a selected few “insiders”.  Bravo, Governor Beshear, from someone outside Kentucky!

  • nu-fan


  • Concerned observer

    Please speak english. What is the point of your gobble-deeg-ook?

  • whatever

    Dont understand our government.  When they people we elect vote on something and then the governor doesnt like it and he changes it….whats the point.  Government in Kentucky is stupid.  Glad they like chickens here bc the horses will be leaving more and more each year,

  • David


  • Why did they vote. They knew executive order was coming.

  • wallyhorse

    This is good for the sport.  We need to phase out Lasix from the sport, which I suspect over time will cause other changes to happen, especially if other policies like the one Jeff Gural now has in place for major Harness stakes (beginning with the foals of 2014) at The Meadowlands (and other tracks he owns and also being followed by Woodbine Entertainment Group) are implemented by the Triple Crown track operators and expanded on by them.

  • Beshear shows somebody in the BLUEGRASS still has some BRAINS…Thank Goodness!!!…

  • Barry Irwin

    Leadership. About freaking time! Thought he would do this, knew he should do this, but seeing him do it is heartening. Thanks Governor.

  • Tbower

    Beshear, Obama, Putin.  They are the same.  Override the legislative process if it does not suit you.  They think government knows more than the people.  

  • Maureen Tierney


  • John Greathouse

    In his two terms he has accomplished nothing for horsemen, so he decided to do something for his wife instead

  • jorge

    The Gov found something that David Williams cared so little about , he could get it passed

  • Pluckedduck1

    this is confusing. in my state the legislature overrides the governor.  how does the governor “override” the legislature? Am taking it these model rules allow race day lasix, which imo passage is a good thing?

  • nu-fan

    Please be more respectful to the comments of others even if you disagree with them.  It’s the language used. 

  • nu-fan

    That’s always a possibility.  Avoid taking responsibility and pass it on to someone else.

  • they keep cutting out and/or lowering medications that help the horses.Especially the older gelding.When they cant fill races and tthe cards are thre or 4 races short per day.People will stop coming to watch and quit betting.Then see what happens to the tracks–bankrupt.And people will start back to the brush tracks and betting each other.
    If you have a headache and cant take asprin or tylenol or ibuprophen.You still have a head ache but you can just go home from work.OR people on blood pressure meds or depression meds like Prozac.Cut out all those meds and you cant work or function.See how long your bank account stays full.
    that is what I see happening to the horses and trainers options.They make medications to help.Like Bute,banamine,clenbuterol.and lasix…
    Now Im not talking about Dermorphine,snake venom,or morphine.People using that should be banned from racing permanantly.
    But medications that help our horses should be used…Not abused though. 

  • Ben K McFadden

    Whether you support or oppose the end result, the process displays the ineptitude of the entire racing industry, appointed bureaucracies, and elected officials. 

    The logical failure of democracy is anarchy followed by dictatorship.  Guess what?

  • Treyorr

    I think its kind of like the BILL 508 that the WHOLE state of California voted on ILLEGAL Aliens. And one Judge over turned what the people voted for and won.Why do we have voting anyway.Its no different than the whole country votes on EVERYTHING by the majority.Except the most important vote of all.THE PRESIDENT.and we use the Electorial College for than to be bought off and manipulated.We should VOTE OUT THE Electorial College.THey can always buy off and persuade the 270 votes to get what they want with money.But they cant buy off the whole country.!!!!

  • Trey

    Who was in office when our country &Wall Street FAILED??? GEORGE BUSH was. The housing market went to shit.the banks and Wall Street Crumbled.Car Factories went Belly up!Who was President?? Again Republican George Bush!! I never really cared about the party in power.But looking back at my 40 years of working as a welder and horse trainer.I had & made more money when President Carter,Clinton and Obama.Pipeline welders are making more money than ever.When President Regan took over the pipelines stopped and I had to train race horses and go inside Dow Chemical and 1/3 of the money Id been making.President Regan’s Trickle Down theory was just like most Republican ideas.Whatever is good for the rich we will do it.Whatever puts the weight on the middle class and poor Republicans are all for that.
    President Bush had our country in such bad shape Houdini coundnt have got the USA out of that grip and hole any faster.President Obama atleast stood up and told us it was so bad it wouldnt be fixed over night.It would take a few years.He didnt lie to you.And if he never does one thing else.He killed Osama Bin Laden..I never though baby Bush would get him.His family is just another oil tycoon in bed with the others.ALL a bunch of CROOKs!!!!

  • racehorse lover

     Leadership??? Yes, you should look that word up in a dictionary Mr. Irwin.. You have continued to stand at the front of the line, and enjoy the free press from this “clean horse racing” movement, but you continue to use lasix on most all of your horses. Team Valor shows four horses racing on 9-1, and 9-2, and what do they all have in common???? They ALL will run on lasix..  Isn’t this the drug you continue to preach should be abolished from racing???
     In 2004 you fired your Team Valor stable trainer because he was caught ON RACE DAY administering illegal drugs to one of your horses. You told news publications that you simply could not have someone like this associated with Team Valor.. A little over a year later, the same trainer was back training horses for Team Valor.
    How exactly is a commission vet giving lasix going to solve cheating when it’s obvious that people like yourself don’t need vets to give a shot??? You guys simply do it yourself… 

  • FEDavidson

    Keep drinking the kool-aid Trey.  To correct you a bit, it was under Clinton that the legislation was passed that led to the granting of sub-prime mortgages to persons who could not afford them which, in reality, is the very basis of the economic debacle.  Also, if you check your history, it was McCain and Bush who questioned the propriety of continuing with the program and potential issues with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.  They were told by Chris Dodd and Barney Frank to mind their own business and don’t fix was isn’t broken.  Clearly, Frank and Dodd were making too much money, as was Wall Street, to care about the warning signs.

    As to Obama not lying, GIVE ME A BREAK.  His monarchistic approach is riddled with daily lies, spin, obscurities, and political smears.  And, if you recall, he may not have said that the economy would be fixed overnight, but he did guarantee that it would be fixed by the end of his first term, which was to be transparent, or he’d be a one term President…STILL WAITING, what about you?

    If you can provide one example of how a “trickle up” approach has ever worked, I’d appreciate it.  The foundation laid by Reagan served Clinton and Bush quite well; and, by the sounds of it, you were served well by it also.  If, however, you believe that the Carter administration was better for the economy, I’d direct your attention to his record as to unemployment, foreign policy (that’s right, he had no foreign policy), gas lines…..

    How’s your job going on the Keystone XL pipeline?  Not too well, I assume.

    Anyway, enough politics, this is about horseracing, not government.

  • nu-fan

    Sorry, Trey, but I hit the “Liked” button instead of the Reply one.  I have to agree with FEDavidson.  Don’t want to dwell on politics but what lead this country to where it is started way before Bush came into office.  In the meantime, let’s get back to horseracing….

  • Tonilee

    Maybe the industry should card fewer races/day or race fewer days/week.  Oh yeah, that would require an industry that works for the benefit of the horses and the betting public.  I forgot.

  • Barry Irwin

    I must be making progress if I am bringing people like you out of the woodwork. I understand that trying to undermine my credibility would help those in favor of the status quo. Nobody at Paulick Report has ever posted under this “racehorse lover” name based on what I can tell from clicking on the PR next to your name. I could guess your identity because the same few guys keep posting comments under different aliases. Your iabiity to twist the facts is exceeded only by your cowardice in failing to state your own name. You have no credibility unless you make your identty known.

  • Michael J. Arndt

    I think David is referring to the time-honored Kentucky political tradition of taking something you wish to see go away, and “helping” it to death.

  • Stanley inman

    “…perhaps the fix was on…”
    Please elaborate
    (I’m blind to your observation)

  • Stanley inman

    “…why did they vote…
    You are right, they expected govs actions.
    hbpa knew their surprise stunt
    Would be
    Bad sportsmanship?
    spitting on your hand
    for after-game handshake.)
    Horrible strategy for building

  • racehorse lover

     Mr. Irwin, I have no desire to seek credibility, or anything else from you, and I do apologize if my comments came out more harsh than intended.  The facts that I spoke of (that you say I have twisted) were very easily found through less than 5 minutes of online research.  If you have a problem with anything I have said above, then I would advise that you take it up with Bloodhorse, Equibase, or DRF..
    I would also like to remind you that the best form of leadership is that which is set by example. You have continued to use lasix on your horses, while all the while (very publicly) opposing it, which has in return made a lot of your public statements seem hypocritical to say the least. 
    You have (very publicly) said that you buy horses from overseas because of the medication problems in horses found in the US.  On July 6 2012 you were quoted as telling this publication that “you liked to buy overseas, so that you really know the horses aren’t bleeders, or have soundness problems.” 
    If that’s the case then maybe you could explain why your only two horses racing today in Master Shade, and Crimson China, never received lasix, or any type of adjunt bleeder medication until you purchased them from overseas, and brought them to this country??? Seems odd that BOTH horses made their first starts in this country, under the Team Valor name, and BOTH horses have continued to receive lasix in every race since.. If they didn’t receive, or need, lasix overseas, then why on Earth would they receive, or need, it now???
    I sincerely wish you the best of luck with both your entrants today Mr. Irwin, and I’m really happy to know that your now with a “trainer that doesn’t lie to you….”

  • Michael J. Arndt

    I would suspect the Bute levels being lowered so much will have sharper barns dropping horses left and right in the claiming ranks that they know wont fare well with the lower levels. 

  • Thelibrarian

    If it was a legit vote (19-1) & this guy overruled it? A further look into the relationships this Gov. has with those in favor of him overruling the legit vote might be in order? Whatever your personal stance on this specific issue might be…..I don’t think this is the way Democracy is suppose to run?

  • David

    Thank you Michael.  Think I’ll pass Stanley, “only in Kentucky” is unfair but the fact is it’s a rather distasteful arena.  May want to check with the KYHBPA on this one though.

  • Sevencentsstable

    I applaud you, racehorselover, on a very intelligent and well written post. Your post is further validated by the lack of reply from Mr. Irwin after 24 hrs… We need more intelligent people speaking out on these issues, rehardless of the popularity of their stance.

  • voiceofreason

     I don’t applaud you, however. Mr. Irwin runs a racing syndicate. If every shareholder of every horse called him and said: “We want to start losing money TODAY, please set and example of our horses – and stop using  lasix”… he might have a shot. But here’s the truth that comments like this hide behind: The INDUSTRY has made it a prerequisite: If you want to compete on a level playing field, you must use these medications to do so”. Period.

    It’s akin to saying “Hey Barry, why don’t buy horses and retire them before they race and make them hunter/jumpers, to avoid slaughter, and appease the anti-slaughter contingent?”

    Why? Because he has a responsibility to field a competitive team. That is the LAW under which our sport is operating. Don’t fight him. Fight the problem.

  • Bernieinocala

    You are an apologist for Barry Irwin who seldom practices what he preaches?  Maybe you better explain to those TOBA do-gooders who aren’t using lasix in 2 year olds that Lasix is a “prerequisite”.  Hey, isn’y Barry on that list?

  • voiceofreason

    What TOBA do-gooders do you speak of? Only 2 year olds? What say they for the 3 year olds? Why don’t you run THEM up a flagpole for not really, REALLY taking the medicine? Or does a race or two assuage your anger?

  • Stanley inman

    Paulick report is about ideas not individuals.

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