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.
The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association remains committed to implementing a drug-testing program tied to the American Graded Stakes Committee by July 1, an official said April 1 during the Joint Conference of Racing Regulators in New Orleans.
Delaware, beginning May 11, will join New York and Ontario, Quebec, as jurisdictions with rules to penalize horses that test positive for erythropoietin antibodies.
Random pre-race testing for "milkshakes"--the loading of bicarbonates through a stomach tube to reduce fatigue-causing buildup of lactic acid--began at Santa Anita Park in late February, but the California Horse Racing Board is referring to the program as a survey because no penalties will be applied if a horse tests positive.
The Arizona Department of Racing approved a pilot program for equine "milkshake" testing and increased the number of ELISA tests to 25 from 15.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) is seeking proposals to research the efficacy of adjunct bleeder medications, such as aminocaproic acid and/or conjugated estrogens, as a race day medication for prevention of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH).
Time and money are two of the major roadblocks as the horse racing industry struggles to come to terms with medication, drug testing, and security, officials said March 4 during the joint annual meeting of Harness Tracks of America and the Thoroughbred Racing Associations.
The Illinois Racing Board has amended its medication rules to drastically increase the penalties for a positive "milkshake" test and also bans any type of hypodermic injection of a horse 24 hours before a scheduled start.
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has adopted a position paper on medication and drug-testing that says any changes in policies in each jurisdiction should be enacted only after there is scientific evidence specific therapeutic drugs shouldn't be used in racehorses.
The Arkansas Racing Commission began testing for erythropoietin antibodies Sunday as part of a series of changes to the state's medication rules.
The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium has approved policy language on race-day use of Salix and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as environmental contaminants, and also formed a subcommittee to review race-day security practices.
Though the Kentucky Racing Commission has been abolished and replaced by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council apparently remains in place--but not necessarily intact.
The Texas Racing Commission has authorized the Texas Medical Diagnostic Laboratory to increase the amount of ELISA tests it conducts and decrease the number of screens it evaluates from urine samples collected for post-race analysis.
The perception of wrongdoing in racing is strong enough that regulators and marketers must not dismiss it, officials said Dec. 11 during a panel discussion titled "The Changing Environment of Regulation" at the University of Arizona Symposium on Racing.
The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium continued its march toward a national model policy on medication and drug testing Dec. 10 when regulators responded favorably to the proposal. But wholesale changes in race-day medication rules around the country aren't expected to take place any time soon.
Regulators in the United States will get their first look at a proposed national medication and drug-testing policy Dec. 10, but even if it wins widespread support, it could take some time before any changes are enacted in various jurisdictions.
Industry officials, during a preliminary meeting Dec. 2 at Philadelphia Park, discussed testing for erythropoietin antibodies that could be implemented in Pennsylvania and perhaps a few other Mid-Atlantic states in 2004.
Though regulators on Dec. 10 will examine a proposal for a national medication and drug-testing policy, release of the document to the public hinges on how well it is received during the meeting.
Tetrahydrogestrinone, a new designer steroid that has rocked human athletics in recent months, has been duly placed on the radar of North American racing. But there are no plans to take action against the potential performance-enhancer, racing officials said.
The debate over whether Kentucky should implement a restrictive race-day medication policy heated up Nov. 18 with calls by racetrack veterinarians and trainers to keep the current policy intact, and allegations that the national Racing Medication and Testing Consortium is carrying out an agenda in secret.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- What price in fighting drugs is unreasonable if the result is increased integrity of the sport?
A formal Royal trainer is the latest in Great Britain to propose the Jockey Club freeze post-race samples from group stakes events to protect against new designer drugs that cannot be tested.
The Thoroughbred industry will have to face the music and change its tune in the next few years if it is to flourish, trainer John Ward suggested during a lively discussion the evening of Nov. 4 at the monthly Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club meeting.
The racing commissions that govern Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing in Delaware have been testing for erythropoietin antibodies since June 1, and in the future may implement rules to penalize horses that test positive.
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