The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium board of directors met June 28 in Chicago, approving several measures including final recommendations for penalties.
The group also approved five research projects for 2005, finalized recommendations on expanded backstretch security programs, and reviewed the adoption of the RMTC recommended uniform medication rules.
The penalty recommendations differentiate between therapeutic medications and drugs deemed to have no value to horses and which should be found at no level of concentration on race day.
The penalties section of the group's Model Medication Policy was finalized for submission to the RCI/NAPRA Uniform Model Rules Committee for approval next month.
A release from the RMTC said at the request of trainers' representatives on the board, the penalty section "also includes a detailed explanation of extenuating, mitigating and aggravating circumstances that can cause the recommended fine and suspension to be reduced or increased."
The release also states that, "veterinarians found to be directly involved in the administration of any drug resulting in a positive test may be subject to the same penalties set forth for the licensed trainer, and owners whose horses repeatedly receive positive tests or are found to be a party to the improper or intentional administration of a drug may also be subject to administrative action in addition to loss of purse."
Currently, under the absolute insurer rule, the trainer is always ultimately responsible for anything found in the system of a horse under his care.
The board also:
--Approved five new research projects for funding in 2005, including studies on adjunct bleeder medication and cone snail toxin. The board agreed to coordinate and sponsor a workshop on proteomics. The RMTC is also completing a survey on recommended testing procedures for alkaline loading with plans to conduct a "milkshaking" summit later this summer.
--New RMTC Board member, TRPB president Frank Fabian, provided an in-depth review of the 'Big Event Team" (BET) security force that provided increased surveillance at this year's Triple Crown races.
--The RMTC approved a funding formula for 2006 and beyond when the interim three years of $2.5 million of bridge funding from RMTC member organizations expires.
--The RMTC Board approved a steering committee consisting of the officers and five additional board members to provide direction and coordination of RMTC programs between meetings of the board.
In other business, elected as officers were: Alan Foreman, executive director of the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (and former RMTC secretary), co-vice chair; Chris Scherf, Thoroughbred Racing Associations executive vice president, co-vice chair; Rogers Beasley, director of racing, Keeneland, treasurer; Dr. Rick Arthur, Oak Tree Racing Association, secretary.
The board also announced that The Hambletonian Society was approved as the 26th member of the RMTC Board of Directors.