California has become the latest state to enact medication reforms developed by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and adopted as model rules by the Association of Racing Commissioners International.
California is the 10th state to formally agree to adoption of the national controlled medication schedule and the first state outside of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions.
The medication schedule was unanimously approved at the Nov. 21 regular monthly meeting of the California Horse Racing Board. The amendment to CHRB Rule 1844 revises the acceptable levels of authorized medications and revises the list of approved substances in accordance with the model rules developed by the RMTC and the RCI. The CHRB approval sets in motion a 45-day comment period and legal review before the reforms become law.
"California's racetracks, owners, breeders, horsemen and regulators should be commended for taking this important step, which will protect horses, jockeys, and the betting public," said NTRA president and CEO Alex Waldrop, who also chairs the RMTC, in a statement. "This is a significant step toward the uniform national medication reforms our industry needs to thrive."
Once implemented, California will be fully compliant with the RMTC and RCI guidelines regarding medication thresholds and testing procedures. The state's designated testing laboratory at the University of California-Davis is fully accredited by the RMTC. The CHRB is expected to address the two other key RMTC and RCI reforms—multiple medication violations and restrictions on the administration of furosemide—later this year.
California's five major racetracks and seven state fair meets cumulatively account for nearly 25% of North America's pari-mutuel handle. Santa Anita Park in Los Angeles will host its third consecutive Breeders' Cup World Championships in 2014.
Nine states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have already committed to enacting the national reforms. Nearly a dozen other states are in the process of adopting them.
The Reforms are accessible online at http://www.ntra.com/feeds/testingrules.html and a current list of nearly 60 major industry organizations that have urged their adoption can be viewed at http://ntra.com/lg/IndustrySupporters.html.