Kentucky racing officials said a program for heightened security and expanded drug testing for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs went smoothly.
A hard-hitting, comprehensive schedule of penalties for medication violations--including ones designed to make racehorse owners more accountable--is headed to the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority for consideration at its May 16 meeting.
Favorites took the collar on opening day at Belmont Park's 100th anniversay on Wednesday, the first day of race-day security barn measures for all New York Racing Association races.
The New York Racing Association's race-day detention program will begin May 4, opening day of the Belmont Park spring meet, and also be used later in the year at Saratoga and Aqueduct, officials said.
Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher reiterated his view of horse racing and breeding in the state April 21 and acknowledged the challenges, including in-state and out-of-state competition from other forms of gambling.
Scot Waterman, executive director of the national Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, said the group has made significant progress the last year in getting racing jurisdictions to adopt its chapter on medication and model rules, a uniform set of medication and drug-testing policies.
Officials outlined the protocol for "milkshake" tests at Keeneland during an informational meeting April 6, and also told horsemen to be aware that some feed and supplements could help trigger a higher-than-normal TCO2 reading in a horse's blood.
Keeneland will host a horsemen's forum April 6 to explain how it intends to test for "milkshakes" during its spring meet, which kicks off April 8.
New regulations patterned after model policies offered by the national Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and regulators in the Mid-Atlantic region will in place in Virginia when Colonial Downs opens for live racing in June.
The Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council is considering substantial penalties for drug violations in horse racing, including combinations of fines and suspensions, use of detention barns, and provisions for horses to be barred from racing for specific periods of time depending on the offense.
The veterinarian in charge of the committee that oversees Santa Anita Park's milkshake testing program said he has nothing to do with the process and is only involved when notified that a trainer's horse has exceeded the acceptable level of total carbon dioxide in its blood.
Keeneland has issued the parameters and penalties for pre-race "milkshake" tests it plans to implement during its April 8-29 spring meet.
Jennifer Pedersen, one of the top female trainers in the country, has been suspended for 60 days by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, according to a ruling released March 4. Meanwhile, owner Ernie Paragallo, for whom Pedersen trains, claims his barn is being targeted by investigators.
The Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission has approved model uniform medication rules as recommended by regulators in the Mid-Atlantic region and hopes to have blood-gas testing for "milkshakes" in place by the time Delaware Park opens April 30 for its 135-day meet.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners, in an effort to educate members, has issued guidelines for the responsible use of compounded medications by veterinarians.
By Gary Biszantz - As chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association I feel an obligation to encourage all horsemen to unite and support uniform medication rules for the United States.
Despite a final plea by a group of local horsemen, the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority unanimously moved Feb. 22 to adopt the model race-day medication rules proposed by the national Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.
The New York Racing Association will begin pre-race and post-race testing for "milkshakes" Feb. 16 at Aqueduct. Both forms of testing will be performed in an effort to collect data to determine the best method.
The Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council set in motion major changes in the state's medication and drug-testing policies when it voted Feb. 4 to recommend adoption of the model rules devised by the national Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.
Two horses who ran at Saratoga last summer were disqualified from their finishing positions because of positive drug tests, but Mark Shuman, who trained both horses for owner Michael Gill, will not be disciplined in the incident.
Kentucky racetracks could begin testing for "milkshakes" this spring under their own guidelines, officials said.
The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium has set a deadline for adoption of recommended uniform medication violations and testing protocol for "milkshakes," which are mixtures of bicarbonate of soda and a liquid force-fed to a racehorse before it competes.
The Ohio State Racing Commission tightened its medication rules Jan. 20 to greatly reflect the model rules offered by the national Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. In another change, money will be deducted from each purse to defray all or part of the cost to test blood and urine samples.
Regulators in the Mid-Atlantic region, who have been working together for years on uniform medication rules, agreed Jan. 20 to endorse the model medication and drug testing policy devised by the national Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- Getting caught is no picnic, but occasional fines, suspensions, and hefty legal bills are included in the price some horsemen have been willing to pay to live on, or over, the edge of the game's rules and regulations.
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association medication committee, in response to concerns from affiliates in Kentucky and Ohio, has asked its affiliates to make known their position on the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium's proposal for uniform medication and drug testing.
The debate over equine medication and drug testing in Kentucky may be colored by very important questions: Is the medication policy currently in place in the Bluegrass state legitimate, and are all racing jurisdictions on the same page when it comes to national uniformity?
The Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council, which met Dec. 21 for the first time since the fall of 2003, has mostly new members and a new agenda that includes updated and cohesive regulations and perhaps major changes to the state's race-day medication policy for Thoroughbred racing.
State and federal officials raided the Turf Paradise barn area Dec. 15 and found performance-enhancing substances that may have been used on racehorses.
The Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council, which hasn't met since the fall of 2003, has been officially reconstituted. The council serves in an advisory capacity to the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.
Plans for enhanced security, drug testing, and licensing by the Texas Racing Commission have been in the making for more than a year in advance of the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Lone Star Park. It's the first time Texas has hosted the Cup.
The Louisiana State Racing Commission's medication committee has asked the full commission to ban the use and possession of human recombinant erythropoietin (EPO) and darbepoietin, as well as consider measures aimed at random pre-race testing for total dissolved carbon dioxide, more commonly known as "milkshaking."
The Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council, which hasn't met since last October, is being reconstituted under the administration of Gov. Ernie Fletcher and its new members will be announced soon, according to individuals close to the situation.
Jim Gallagher, the new executive director of the Kentucky Racing Authority, said that tailoring state laws to "seamlessly fit with other jurisdictions" should be a goal of state regulators nationwide.
Michael Gill, the leading Thoroughbred owner in the country in races and money won, said reported positives for a tranquilizer in two of his horses during the Saratoga meet would result in nothing more than damage to his reputation.
The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium is recommending owners pay a $5 fee to fund research to develop threshold levels and withdrawal times for therapeutic medications.
Dan Fick, executive vice president and executive director of The Jockey Club, was elected chairman of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium at its quarterly meeting Sept. 9. The consortium also approved a per-start fee for horse owners to help fund initiatives.
By Dr. Ted Hill - Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as phenylbutazone and Banamine, and some prednisone or similar steroid to reduce inflammation in aching joints, tendons, and ligaments, the supporters argued, would simply help horses withstand the rigors of frequent racing.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Association, at its next meeting Aug. 16, hopes to consider an upgraded drug-testing plan offered by the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.
The National Horsemen's Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, given the results of a recent study, has suggested research into medication thresholds and withdrawal times be performed using horses in training.
The Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission and Delaware Park have decided the drug-testing protocol of the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association be adopted voluntarily.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, at its next meeting Aug. 16, hopes to consider an upgraded drug-testing plan offered by the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.
The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association delayed implementation of its drug-testing protocol for graded stakes in the United States because not all jurisdictions were prepared to implement it, the American Graded Stakes Committee said July 14.
Three months after national regulators' associations approved model rules for a proposed national medication policy, the task of lobbying jurisdictions to adopt them continues.
The New York State Racing and Wagering Board has disciplined a trainer, assistant trainer, and veterinarian for two tranquilizers found in the system of Vagabond Saint following a second-place finish in the second race at Aqueduct April 14.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, currently studying its controversial helmet rule for jockeys, indicated May 17 it doesn't expect to have a resolution anytime soon.
The Indiana Horse Racing Commission April 21 called for an economic impact study on the impact of having--or not having--Kentucky signals available at the state's racetracks and off-track betting parlors.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority is moving forward with renewal of an equine drug-testing contract with Iowa State University pending review of the document by the state Finance Cabinet and assurances test results will be expedited.
Model rules for the proposed national medication policy are moving forward, but the unification of the Association of Racing Commissioners International and North American Pari-Mutuel Regulators Association apparently isn't going to happen anytime soon.
Officials gathered in New Orleans for the first Joint Conference of Racing Regulators will consider a proposed national medication policy that calls for voluntary use of Salix on race days and use of one of three non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs no later than 24 hours before a race.
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