International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) chairman Louis Romanet has applauded the continued efforts of The Jockey Club to prohibit race-day medication in U.S. racing.

During closing remarks at the IFHA annual international conference Oct. 8 in Paris, Romanet praised The Jockey Club president James Gagliano’s conference presentation on U.S. medication reform efforts.

"The Jockey Club core belief that ‘Horses should compete only when they are free from the influence of medication,’ sounds like very nice music to my ears," said Romanet, before addressing Gagliano directly. "Jim, I am sure that everybody in that room today is wishing you good luck to win this strategic battle."

The IFHA promotes harmonization and coordination of rules regarding breeding, racing, and wagering of its member nations.

As Gagliano, an IFHA vice president, and The Jockey Club have campaigned for ending rules that allow race-day medication in the U.S., they have pointed out that U.S. rules that allow Salix on race day are out of line with most of major racing nations. Gagliano also outlined The Jockey Club’s efforts to reform medication rules. The changes would include harsher penalties for violators.

Romanet also praised the efforts of Breeders’ Cup Ltd., which will not allow furosemide in its world championship races for 2-year-olds this year; and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association members who have pledged to race their 2-year-olds without furosemide.

Also at the conference, France Galop chairman Bertrand Belinguier said that to grow the sport, horse racing needs to take control of betting pools, maintain strong relations with legislators, increase media awareness of the sport, and encourage partnerships as a way to attract new owners.

Romanet also noted that Oman has been added to the list of approved stud books. There are now 69 approved stud books and that number could soon increase to 70 as the Ukraine is in the final stages of approval.

Also, efforts are being made to better integrate ratings of South American races with the World Thoroughbred Rankings. The ratings will be used for quality control of graded stakes races.

Romanet said racing continues to adapt to new challenges.

"The 46th annual International Conference of Horseracing Authorities displayed the commitment of global horse racing bodies to adapt to a changing and challenging environment both locally and internationally," Romanet said. "Maintaining relations with the governments and protecting our intellectual property rights as racing-product producers are key issues. The collection of represenatives of 52 countries enable a critical information exchange that allows for best practices and harmonized regulation to be devleoped and implemented."

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