The Arkansas Racing Commission Sept. 11 adopted all portions of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium's National Uniform Medication Program.
Included in the four-prong program is recognition of RMTC's controlled therapeutic medication list, a multiple medication violation penalty program, an agreement to work with a RMTC-accredited testing laboratory, and implementation of third-party administration of furosemide. Arkansas regulators are currently working with Truesdail Laboratories for its testing. Commission officials say they are confident that third-party administration of furosemide will be in effect by Jan. 9, when the 2015 Oaklawn Park race meet begins.
The Uniform Medication Program has been endorsed by more than 60 industry stakeholders. Once fully adopted, Arkansas will join Delaware, Indiana, Massachusetts, North Dakota, and Virginia as the sixth state to fully implement the program, with many other states undergoing some part of the process.
"The Arkansas Racing Commission is pleased to join the growing number of states adopting the Model Rules on uniform medications and multiple violation penalties," said Mark Lambert, Arkansas commissioner and chairman-elect for the Association of Racing Commissioners International.
RMTC chairman Alex Waldrop said he applauded Arkansas's support of the safety and integrity initiatives that are supported by every major industry organization.
"I urge all racing jurisdictions in the United States to follow the lead of Arkansas and others and uniformly adopt these reforms," Waldrop said.
The development and advancement of scientifically-based uniform medication rules, an effective multiple violator penalty system, and the industry's only laboratory accreditation/external quality assurance program has been a top priority of the RMTC over the last year.
"These reforms are in the best interest of the health and welfare of the horse and the safety of all participants," said RMTC executive director and chief operating officer Dr. Dionne Benson. "The Arkansas commission, led by chairman Cecil Alexander, has made great strides in ensuring the integrity of the sport and the health and welfare of horses racing in Arkansas in 2015."
The RMTC consists of 23 racing industry stakeholders and organizations that represent Thoroughbred, Standardbred, American Quarter Horse, and Arabian racing. The organization works to develop and promote uniform rules, policies and testing standards at the national level; coordinate research and educational programs that seek to ensure the integrity of racing and the health and welfare of racehorses and participants; and protect the interests of the racing public.