The board of directors of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC), in consultation with the RMTC Scientific Advisory Committee, approved policy recommendations for the use of steroids. The action took place at an RMTC board meeting March 25 Austin, Texas.
According to a released statement from the RMTC, the recommendations are as follows:
1. When a state racing commission implements the RMTC and RCI Androgenic Anabolic Steroid Model Rule, there should be a 90-day grace period before the penalty enforcement begins; subsequent penalties should be in accord with the RMTC and RCI Uniform Model Penalties. The trainer and owner should be notified if there is an anabolic steroid overage during the 90-day grace period.
2. The androgenic anabolic steroids boldenone, nandrolone, stanozolol, and testosterone shall not be administered within 30 days prior to a race.
a. One of those four anabolic steroids may be administered more than 30 days prior to the race only if all of the following conditions are met:
i. the anabolic steroid is administered by a licensed veterinarian in connection with the diagnosis of illness or injury in the horse for which the steroid is necessary; and,
ii. the veterinarian must complete a treatment report and files the report with the appropriate regulatory designee within 24 hours of the treatment; and,
iii. the horse must test below the stated model rule threshold concentration prior to being allowed to enter to race.
b. Only licensed veterinarians may possess the above anabolic steroids and administer them to racehorses. They shall not be dispensed for administration by personnel associated with the horse.
c. Claimed horses may be tested for the presence of anabolic steroids at the request of the claimant and results shall be reported to the regulatory body. Upon a positive test, the claim may be voided at the option of the claimant, and testing costs shall be borne by the original owner. If the test is negative, the claimant shall reimburse the regulatory body for the costs of testing.
d. Withdrawal times are variable and nothing in this policy should be interpreted as condoning the use of anabolic and androgenic steroids in horses intended to race.
According to RMTC chairman Dr. Robert Lewis, “This policy essentially imposes a prohibition on the use of all anabolic steroids within 30 days of a race. We recommend strict requirements for the administration of the four permitted anabolic steroids only by licensed veterinarians outside the 30-day prohibition period. I believe the use of anabolic steroids will be substantially reduced, which is what all of us are trying to accomplish.”
The RMTC is one of the sponsors of a workshop on the detection of androgenic/anabolic steroids in the race horse to be held at the University of California at Davis Kenneth L. Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory April 27-30.
“The response of the racing chemists has been phenomenal,” said Lewis. “Over 40 participants from 28 laboratories worldwide have pre-registered for the workshop, including chemists from Brazil, Chile, England, Greece, Belgium, Canada, Jamaica, and almost every U.S. racing laboratory.”
The keynote speakers will be Dr. Don Catlin, director of the Anti-Doping Research Institute and former director of the UCLA Olympic Laboratory, and Dr. Ed Houghton, formerly of Horseracing Forensic Laboratory in Newmarket, England, and one of the world’s foremost experts in anabolic steroid testing in the racehorse.
Dr. Scott Stanley, associate professor in charge of equine drug testing at the UC-Davis Maddy Lab noted, “This is an unprecedented situation where we have a new model rule coming forward and the laboratories working on uniform testing at the same time. This meets two of RMTC’s primary goals regarding uniform testing and model rule implementation. The bottom line is that you cannot have model rules without uniform testing.”