Dr. Scot Waterman, executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium for almost 10 years, is leaving the post at the end of April, according to multiple industry sources.
Waterman, who assumed the role when the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Integrity and Drug Testing Task Force morphed into the RMTC in 2003, is largely credited with keeping the RMTC on course. The board of directors is made up of representatives of about 25 industry organizations that don’t always agree on all medication issues.
Waterman, when contacted by The Blood-Horse April 13 said he had no comment on the reports of his departure. The RMTC board is scheduled to meet April 19; a statement could be issued at that time.
Sources told The Blood-Horse Waterman is leaving but they differed on the reason. A few said there is unhappiness by some RMTC board members concerning the methodical nature of the organization, which consistently has said it must rely on scientific research before any policy decisions are made.
RMTC supporters claim the organization is largely responsible for the national model rule on racehorse medication that has been adopted by almost every racing jurisdiction. The only therapeutic substances still permitted on race day are the anti-bleeding drug Salix; several adjunct bleeder medications are allowed in some states.
Waterman most recently assisted the West Virginia Racing Commission in overhauling its rules of racing. West Virginia’s medication rules now closely resemble those in many states under model rules.
The debate over race-day medication heated up again recently after the Association of Racing Commissioners International issued a call for the phase-out of all race-day drugs in five years. The only ones left are anti-bleeding drugs.
Soon afterward Alan Foreman, chief executive officer of the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, which has a seat on the RMTC, questioned the RCI’s move.
“I’m prepared to engage a debate, but it was decided some time ago the RCI is not the body to deal with this—it’s the RMTC,” Foreman said at the time. “The RMTC has been regularly engaged in discussions with the scientific community for some time. We have a responsibility to the horse, and that drives every decision we make.”
The RMTC in total has not yet issued a position on the RCI’s call for a ban, though a few of its members, including The Jockey Club and Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, said they support it.