ARCI: Vet's List Changes Aim to Protect Horses

ARCI: Vet's List Changes Aim to Protect Horses
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
The end goal of a rule put forward by The Jockey Club Safety Committee is to standardize vet's list rules

The Association of Racing Commissioners International Drug Testing and Practices Committee April 19 moved forward on changes that would standardize vet's list procedures from state to state.

The end goal of the rule put forward by The Jockey Club Safety Committee is to standardize vet's list rules, specifically targeting situations where a horse on a vet's list in one state or track ships out and is allowed to race in another jurisdiction.

The Jockey Club Safety Committee-supported rule calls for all regulatory authorities to better manage and mutually enforce rest periods for horses on any official vet's list. The Jockey Club subsidiary, InCompass Solutions, would enhance its software to facilitate the efforts, and racing jurisdictions would be notified when a horse on a vet's list in one jurisdiction is attempted to be entered in another.

The Drug Testing and Practices Committee recommended the ARCI Model Rules committee, which will meet April 20, address the rule proposal. 

Cathy O'Meara, industry initiatives coordinator for The Jockey Club, presented the rule that also would put restrictions in place for horses who have not raced for one year or longer or horses making their first start at age 4 or older. 

Duncan Patterson, chairman of the Drug Testing and Practices Committee and chairman of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, said he understands the need for a model rule.

"I see this as a problem. We've put horses on the vet's list in Delaware then you see them racing somewhere else," Patterson said. "That's a situation that puts a horse's health in jeopardy."

In one other move that came to a vote Wednesday, the Drug Testing and Practices Committee approved—with three dissenters—asking the ARCI staff to update points previously assigned under the Multiple Medication Violator provision of the National Uniform Medication Program. The ARCI board in December approved changes to the MMV points system and Tuesday's vote will adjust points assigned to trainers before that change to the current standard.

The MMV uses a points system similar to that of many state departments of motor vehicles, in which violations are assigned points. If a trainer with multiple medication violations reaches a points threshold, sanctions in addition to the penalties for the latest offense are assigned.

In December the ARCI board approved changes to the MMV that eliminated points assigned for the lowest penalty category (Class D) and halved points assigned to Class C penalties. Also, the number of points to trigger the initial MMV sanction was raised from three to five. Suspension days were reduced and the time period for points to stay on a horseman's record also were reduced.

Committee members voting Tuesday in favor of having ARCI staff adjust the previously assigned points to the current standard noted fairness issues. 

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