Three months after national regulators' associations approved model rules for a proposed national medication policy, the task of lobbying jurisdictions to adopt them continues.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On Wednesday Keeneland's board of directors voted to support a national drug policy and elected three individuals to new positions.
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.
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.
The Thoroughbred Owners of California will donate $128,000 to racing charities for the fiscal year 2002-03.
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 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
The Racehorse Medication and Testing Consortium formed earlier this year has incorporated as a charitable organization and issued its goals and objectives, one of which has been broadened to include the auction and training aspects of the Thoroughbred business.
The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium is moving forward with a national policy statement and plans to incorporate.
Horsemen, veterinarians, racing officials, and regulators in Kentucky have been working behind the scenes to develop a new medication policy for the state that figures to greatly influence the debate over a uniform medication policy for the United States.
Issues surrounding ownership, medication, equine genomics and the globalization of racing will be spotlighted when The Jockey Club's 50th annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing convenes at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on Aug. 18.
In the second round of "super tests" performed under the guidance of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Racing Integrity and Drug Testing Task Force, there were no new positives for Class 1, 2, and 3 medications, according to a final report recently released. There were, however, 454 confirmations for therapeutic drugs.
Kent Stirling, executive director of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, and Dr. Rick Arthur, a vice president of Oak Tree Racing Association, have been named to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Racing Integrity and Drug Testing Task Force.
As the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium continues its march toward uniformity in Thoroughbred racing, battle lines are being formed by other groups that believe a furosemide-only policy on race days is too extreme.
The newly christened Racing Medication and Testing Consortium said May 1 it has formed three task forces to focus on developing an organizational and business plan, scientific research priorities, and a model medication policy.
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