The use of bisphosphonates in younger horses or for reasons not approved by the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) has prompted warnings from equine veterinarians that such misuse may put
racehorses at serious, long-term risk of injury or delayed healing from injury. There is no valid reason
for these drugs to be administered to a horse except under the very limited circumstances for which they
have FDA approval, i.e. the use of Osphos or Tildren to treat navicular syndrome in horses age four and
To protect the health and welfare of horses and the safety of all participants, the Minnesota Racing
Commission is issuing the following interpretive guidance which will apply at Minnesota licensed
racetracks until further notice:
1. Possession of any bisphosphonate drug by anyone on the grounds of a licensed racetrack is
prohibited under Minnesota Rules, part 7897.0100, subpart 20, item B (2) and will be considered
a serious violation of commission rules. Veterinarians must remove these drugs from their trucks
before entering the grounds.
2. Horses age four and up that are properly prescribed Osphos or Tildren for navicular syndrome
must be treated off the premises of licensed racetracks. Anyone removing a horse from a licensed
racetrack for this purpose must inform the Commission Veterinarian in advance. Pursuant to
Minnesota Rules, part 7877.0175, subpart 8, item F, these horses will be placed on the
veterinarian’s list for at least 30 days following the most recent administration.
3. When any horse enters the grounds of a licensed racetrack, the Commission Veterinarian must be
immediately notified of the date and circumstances of every known administration of a
bisphosphonate drug. Pursuant to Minnesota Rules, part 7877.0175, subpart 8, item F, these
horses will be placed on the veterinarian’s list for at least 30 days following the most recent
4. The finding of any bisphosphonate drug in a post-race test sample will be a violation of
Minnesota Rules, parts 7877.0170, subpart 2, item C and 7890.0110. A positive test finding will
result in a presumptive “Category A” penalty under Minn. R. 7869.0200, subpart 2, item C,
meaning license suspension of up to one year and a fine of up to $10,000 for the trainer, as well
as disqualification, loss of purse, and placing the horse on the veterinarian’s list for 180 days.
5. The MRC will be conducting increased out-of-competition testing pursuant to our authority
under Minnesota Rules, part 7892.0120. Any horse testing positive for a bisphosphonate drug
will be placed on the veterinarian’s list until it has a negative test. The horse’s owner, trainer or
veterinarian would be sanctioned if they violated the above-cited rules.
PLEASE CONTACT MRC CHIEF COMMISSION VETERINARIAN DR.LYNN
HOVDA IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS GUIDANCE.
Please note: This guidance describes how the Minnesota Racing Commission will address bisphosphonate use
under its existing authority. It will be updated as pertinent new information becomes available to the industry in
the coming weeks and months. More importantly, this guidance should not be viewed as the only means for the
racing industry as a whole to address important issues surrounding bisphosphonate use. In the interest of race
horse health, as well as the long-term viability of the sport, breeders, owners, trainers and veterinarians are
encouraged to immediately begin doing everything they can to end the improper use of bisphosphonates.