Racing industry officials said they again expect to see federal legislation filed this year that would authorize the United States Anti-Doping Agency to oversee equine medication and drug testing procedures.
Horsemen's representatives told the Ohio Horse Racing Commission March 30 that equine medication rules, which the commission is reviewing, should be breed-specific in nature.
The OSRC said policy is needed following random post-race tests that revealed unnaturally high levels of cobalt in Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds.
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The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium hopes to have a recommended testing threshold level by late April for a naturally occurring amino acid that has a calming effect on racehorses.
A review of federal court records outlining the criminal cases against four Penn National veterinarians reveals that the vets alledgedly followed the trainers' orders on what medications should be administered to horses.
In a move that sounded a lot like the other shoe dropping, federal criminal charges have been filed against four racetrack veterinarians involved in treating horses at Penn National Race Course near Grantville, Pa.
The New York State Gaming Commission and New York Racing Association March 24 said they have established standing security protocols for horses racing in grade 1 races with purses of $1 million or more.
Trainer Tevis McCauley will have to answer to multiple charges, including allegations of "milkshaking" and medication rule violations, following an investigation by Kentucky Horse Racing Commission staff.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission March 23 approved a regulation that would permit the state's racetracks to card races that would prohibit the administration of furosemide within 24 hours of post time.
New York regulators March 23 said they want to hold a forum to consider the future use of anti-bleeding medication furosemide in the state.
The Ontario Racing Commission said March 20 it will begin developing a "practical and appropriate response" for testing for the mineral cobalt.
Setting the testing threshold for cobalt chloride has become the challenge of racing regulators. North American racing has been well behind in its application of a satisfactory testing threshold applied across all states.
The head of the Association of Racing Commissioners International has reiterated the organization's intention to push for a uniform approach for regulation of cobalt.
With the large concentration of graded stakes scheduled for spring and summer, The Jockey Club is reminding regulators and racetracks that it has budgeted another $250,000 in grants for out-of-competition testing.
As the Ohio State Racing Commission begins a comprehensive review of its medication rules and examines the National Uniform Medication Program, it has a hired a longtime veterinarian to consult on policies and procedures.
The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium may be close to recommending policy on the endogenous element cobalt, which when administered in high doses is believed to enhance production of red blood cells.
The Indiana Horse Racing Commission March 10 upheld an administrative law judge's order that trainer Tom Amoss be suspended 60 days and fined $5,000 in a therapeutic medication case that has dragged on for three years.
Santa Anita Park stewards March 5 announced the dates of A.C. Avila's California Horse Racing Board-ordered suspension, but the trainer has already stated he will contest the penalty in court.
A group of prominent organizations involved in Thoroughbred breeding, racing, and sales in North America issued a joint statement Feb. 24 in reaction to the British Horseracing Authority's enhanced equine anti-doping rules.
A provision voiding the claim of a horse placed on the veterinarian's list for bleeding was approved for a 45-day public comment period by the California Horse Racing Board, though members expressed their concerns.
Legislation governing racehorse medication policy unanimously passed the Florida Senate Regulated Industries Committee Feb. 18 and was reported favorably to the full Senate.
Legislation governing equine medication policy is scheduled to be heard Feb. 18 by the Florida Senate Regulated Industries Committee.
A fourth Maryland trainer has been suspended and fined in connection with a positive test for the synthetic anabolic steroid stanzolol.
Though the Association of Racing Commissioners International remains a member of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, it intends to take the lead role in gathering the information needed to set medication policies.
The umbrella group for regulators in North America is examining a new approach to out-of-competition testing that would not only target blood doping and gene doping, but also identify horses at risk of catastrophic injury.
The Stronach Group remains optimistic about the future of the horse racing industry in North America and will continue to push for what it believes are fundamental structural changes needed to move the business forward.
The racing and breeding industry in North America is devising a plan of action to accommodate the British Horseracing Authority's zero-tolerance policy for the presence of anabolic steroids in Thoroughbreds.
As part of an examination of its equine medication rules, the Ohio State Racing Commission in February will begin hearing from various industry organizations involved in an effort to adopt uniform policies for all states.
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association will address a number of issues during its winter convention Feb. 4-8 in Carefree, Ariz., as well as hear from a key executive with The Stronach Group.
The Organization of Racing Investigators will hold its 2015 training conference March 1-4 at New Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J.
As part of its extensive investigation into Steve Asmussen stable following allegations of horse mistreatment from an animal rights group, the KHRC compiled safety numbers in which the trainer fared well
The Indiana Horse Racing Commission Jan. 12 said regulation of cobalt, a naturally occurring substance in racehorses that can have performance-enhancing qualities when supplemented, indicates decreases in abuse.
Three regulatory veterinarians said Jan. 12 they support recent action by the Association of Racing Commissioners International to adopt a model rule on compounded drugs used in horse racing.
Citing unresolved investigations in New York and Kentucky of Steve Asmussen following a 2014 video from an animal rights group alleging horse abuse, the trainer will not be considered in 2015 for the Hall of Fame.
RCI said Jan. 5 it is taking steps to ensure regulatory agencies have adequate authority to sanction licensees who violate existing federal restrictions limiting the use of illegally compounded medications.
Trainer David Wells pleaded guilty in a state court Dec. 16 to rigging races by administering drugs to horses on race day at Penn National Race Course.
The RMTC said Dec. 9 the Thoroughbred industry has made "major gains" this year in the number of jurisdictions operating or soon to be operating under all or part of the National Uniform Medication Program.
New York regulators are ready to consider final revisions to rules specifying allowable testing threshold levels for two dozen medications used to treat Thoroughbreds in advance of races.
Maggi Moss has had success racing at Indiana Grand Race Course, which she calls a bright spot in Midwest Thoroughbred racing. But dysfunction and unfair practices in racing regulation are threatening the business, she said.
All samples collected from horses that competed in the 2014 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park have been cleared by the Kenneth L. Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at UC-Davis.
As Santa Anita Park prepares to host the Breeders' Cup World Championships Oct. 31-Nov. 1, track management is confident its new dirt surface will perform well and safely.
The Breeders' Cup World Championships will be held for the first time under reforms included in the National Uniform Medication Program.
The recent announcement by Breeders' Cup to ban horses from being entered in the World Championships if their trainers are found to be in violation of its convicted trainers rule, effective 2015, could signal change.
- By Tom LaMarra
Research commissioned by The Jockey Club shows that, though the Thoroughbred industry has made progress in the area of uniform medication and testing standards, a state-by-state approach is at best problematic.
Ogden Phipps said Oct. 6 a centralized regulatory body for horse racing would facilitate changes necessary to improve the integrity of the sport in the United States, but the chances of it happening are slim to none.
- By Tom LaMarra
United States Trotting Association-funded research into cobalt has resulted in a regulatory testing threshold of 70 parts per billion, the organization said Sept. 30.
Two of three distinguished veterinarians being honored by the Thoroughbred Club of American, Dr. Larry Bramlage and Dr. Gary Lavin, addressed medication use in racehorses during their acceptance speeches.
Jockey Club says a recent study's findings challenge long-held opinions in North American racing, including the contention that the use of the diuretic furosemide is necessary to ensure long-term careers of horses.
Unless horse racing first reaches industry consensus on medication reform, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association does not expect Congress to move forward on federal medication legislation.
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