During its meeting Feb. 21, the board of directors of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) passed a model rule on anabolic steroids that will be forwarded to the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) for approval during the RCI Annual Convention April 23-27.
Once the RMTC receives input from the RCI, the model rule language will be released to the industry.
At the board meeting, the RMTC also approved a security budget that revises the format of the Big Event Team (BET) for 2007 to enable BET members, with assistance from racing commissions, to train racetrack security personnel and conduct investigations at racetracks upon request. The RMTC also approved funding for special investigations.
In addition, the RMTC tentatively approved an agreement with the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council to establish a 25-horse research stable pending final review and approval from the Drug Research Council and the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.
The RMTC board members also heard reports on five RMTC-funded research projects: Determination of a reporting level for procaine by Dr. Cindy Cole of the University of Florida (Cole is now with Idexx Pharmaceuticals); Screening of erythropoiesis-stimulating peptides (EPO) in horses by Dr. Ashok K. Singh of the University of Minnesota; Pharmacologically based withdrawal time for clenbuterol by Dr. Eric Birks of the University of Pennsylvania; Effects of pre-race administration of Amicar on EIPH (exercised-induced pulmonary hemorrhage) by Dr. Eric Birks; and Detection of the cone snail toxin ziconotide in equine serum by Dr. Rick Sams of the University of Florida.
In other business, the RMTC: elected Dr. Robert Lewis of the American Association of Equine Practitioners as chairman and Tom Charters of The Hambletonian Society as treasurer. Dan Fick remains chief executive officer; Chris Scherf and Alan Foreman continue as vice chairmen; and Dr. Rick Arthur remains secretary of the organization; Discussed the issue of environmental contaminants (substances that are inadvertently administered to horses through feed or through human contact) and pledged to continue to evaluate the issue and possibly expend research funds; Discussed RMTC-sponsored workshops for regulatory veterinarians and racing analysts on testing for erythropoietin (EPO) and anabolic steroids; Provided an update on a new section of its website that will enable licensed horsemen to look up guidelines about withdrawal times for approximately 50 therapeutic medications identified by the RMTC Veterinary Advisory Committee. The new section of the site is scheduled to be launched March 1.