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.
At an Oct. 21 open forum on Kentucky's equine medication policy, nearly everyone agreed the state should be part of a national effort to attain uniformity. However, opinions varied widely when it came to just what that policy should include.
New York regulators Oct. 21 gave final approval to a new rule authorizing the testing of post-race samples for performance-enhancing erythropoetin antibodies. The New York Racing and Wagering Board said the testing would begin Nov. 1, which would make New York the first state to require the test.
As Kentucky prepares to open a major debate on a proposed policy that would allow only Salix on race day, a high-profile trainer who races in major jurisdictions believes in a common-sense approach -- and he also said the industry must realize drugs aren't the only problem. Meanwhile, another top Kentucky trainer believes race-day therapeutic medication is essential.
Oak Tree Racing Association has stepped up backstretch security for its current meet, which includes the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on Oct. 25 at Santa Anita Park.
The Kentucky Racing Commission has approved extensive drug testing in conjunction with the American Graded Stakes Committee mandate that it be implemented in order for stakes to retain their grades.
The chairman of the Kentucky Racing Commission has advocated a Salix-only policy on race day in the state, and said he would schedule meetings around the state to get feedback. Currently, five medications are permitted on race day in Kentucky.
The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium has made substantial progress on a model policy for the horse racing industry and also has allocated $275,000 for four research projects tied to its initiatives.
The Kentucky Racing Commission and the Kentucky Equine Drug Council in October will consider the mandate by the American Graded Stakes Committee that enhanced drug testing be implemented by next year in order for stakes to maintain their grades.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- As a move toward uniform drug rules progresses, it's obvious that no policy will please everyone.
The vital areas of wagering integrity, technology, and medication will be spotlighted at The Jockey Club's Round Table Conference in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. on Aug. 17.
The Breeders' Cup board of directors on Monday officially endorsed the proposed Thoroughbred Championship Tour, and also said it would use a new drug-testing protocol being designed by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association for all graded stakes.
John Roark, president of the Texas Horsemen's Partnership and a board member of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, fought back a challenge to win a second two-year term as president of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.
New York is poised to become the first state to begin testing horses for blood-doping antibodies used to enhance performance, New York State Racing and Wagering Board officials have announced.
With a goal to raise $2 million to $3 million a year to support its initiatives, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium is looking at a mechanism that would raise money from horsemen and racetracks based on the top four finishers in each race.
Participants in a July 10 medication workshop reached the consensus that "over-medication" may contribute to fewer starts by racehorses, but other factors -- racetrack surfaces, an emphasis on speed, too much pressure on 2-year-olds, and a thirst for quick profit -- probably are just as responsible.
The board of directors of the Association of Racing Commissioners International will consider adoption of a policy that would make treatments such as hypoxic therapy prohibited practices until their impact on horses is scientifically demonstrated.
By Ray Paulick -- By using the power of its American Graded Stakes Committee, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association is taking a leadership role to ensure the highest standards are being used to test those horses competing in America's most important races.
The Kentucky Racing Commission has approved an agreement with the University of Kentucky for the college to apply for accreditation of its Animal Drug Testing Program and better monitor projects and control related costs.
Mid-Atlantic regulators and the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association are scheduled to meet June 12 in New Jersey to discuss medication and drug-testing issues on a regional and national scope.
The New York Racing Association has backed away from its plan to have a mandatory stakes barn for the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), but it will instead take pre-race samples from all horses in the third leg of the Triple Crown.
The American Graded Stakes Committee will begin implementing a drug-testing plan for horses participating in its designated races beginning at Keeneland and Belmont Park this fall. It expects to have the testing protocol fully in place by the end of 2004.
Say Florida Sandy, the all-time leading New York-bred in terms of earnings, has been placed first in the Jan. 25 Paumonok Handicap at Aqueduct because of the disqualification of Crossing Point for a clenbuterol positive after a post-race urine test.
Uniformity in medication and drug testing could be years away, a member of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium said April 1 during a California Horse Racing Board Medication Committee meeting.
California has taken the first step to ban the backstretch use of snake venom, which officials believe can be used as a nerve- or joint-numbing agent in sore or injured horses.
The Thoroughbred Corp.'s Kafwain was disqualified from his second-place finish in the March 9 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds because he raced with an excessive amount of the bronchodilator clenbuterol. Trainer Bob Baffert did not appeal so Kafwain could make his next racing engagement, but he has called for uniformity in medication rules.
Four of five Standardbred trainers under investigation for illegally administering oxycodone to racehorses were exonerated when split samples showed no traces of the painkiller in urine taken from original samples that tested positive.
The chairman of the Kentucky Racing Commission says an investigation of a personal services contract awarded for a review of drug research is an attack on the racing commission and Thoroughbred industry in the state.
The first joint meeting of the boards of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations and Harness Tracks of America was considered a success, but whether the two organizations continue to meet jointly on a regular basis remains to be seen.
Officials said the classification of erythropoeitin -- the blood-doping agent commonly known as EPO -- as a prohibited practice has curbed its use in some jurisdictions but a definitive test for the substance is a must if any regulation is to have teeth.
Kentucky officials will consider regulations for use of shock-wave therapy in racehorses and also whether money for equine drug research should be spent on establishing threshold levels and withdrawal times for permitted medications.
Though testing for the blood-doping agent erythropoietin (EPO) remains in its infant stages, a view into the prevalence of the drug on North America's backstretches is beginning to come into focus.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- Progress continues in the areas of medication and drug-testing, and those involved in the process should not let a "lack of easy answers" stand in their way.
Two bills that would permit officials in Kentucky to spend money on equine drug research out of state were withdrawn from consideration in the state House of Representatives.
Antibodies for erythropoeitin, a blood-doping substance commonly known as EPO, were found in six racehorses at Sam Houston Race Park, the Dallas Morning News reported Feb. 18.
Aqueduct-based trainer Gary Contessa is awaiting his fate on a slew of ephedra positives that have sidetracked his operation.
Two bills introduced in the Kentucky legislature would permit officials to spend money on drug research pertinent to the horse racing and breeding industries out of state if they so desire. Current statute mandates the money stay at Kentucky research facilities.
Leonard Patrick, a veterinarian used by owner Mike Gill and trainer Mark Shuman, had his privileges suspended by Gulfstream Park on Wednesday for improper storage of Class 3 and Class 4 medication.
The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium has elected officers, chosen an executive director, and put the finishing touches on few sections of its proposed model policy for medication and drug testing. Breeders' Cup president D.G. Van Clief Jr. was elected chairman.
The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium is scheduled to meet Feb. 4 in Atlanta, Ga., to hammer out details of its structure and further develop its policy statement.
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