Anne M. Eberhardt

WV to Tackle Latest Round of Model Rules

Thoroughbred stakeholders to discuss proposed penalty system May 6.

Thoroughbred industry stakeholders in West Virginia will meet May 6 to consider changes in the state's racing rules, including a few related to the National Uniform Medication Program.

Kelli Talbott, senior deputy attorney general for the West Virginia Racing Commission, said April 15 the agenda will include discussion of the multiple medication violation penalty system and the latest updates to the Controlled Therapeutic Medication Schedule approved by the Association of Racing Commissioners International. Both are components of the national medication program.

West Virginia was among the first states to endorse the National Uniform Medication Program last year. The state legislature approved the first round of rules, which are expected to be on the books this summer.

In West Virginia and some other states, any rule changes must be approved by lawmakers. That means the rules submitted this year can't take effect until 2015 in West Virginia.

Talbott told the WVRC the model rule for the MMV penalty system requires use of the RCI database.

"The RCI model rule not only requires that all rulings and points be reported to RCI, but that they be put on the racing commission website," Talbott said. "It's a transparency mechanism, and I think it's a good idea."

Talbott said Alan Foreman, chairman of the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, recently met with Mid-Atlantic region representatives and recommended they adopt the rules approved by the RCI.

Talbott said an incorrect effective date was printed on the 2014 West Virginia legislation. That would hold up implementation of the new rules, she said, so the WVRC unanimously voted to shorten the number of days it will become effective after the governor signs it from 90 days to 30 days.

The new rules, which include the list of withdrawal times for 24 commonly used therapeutic drugs, are expected to take effect in July.

WVRC member Bill Phillips, who attended the RCI conference April 7-9 in Lexington, noted the model rules process is ongoing and will be revisited frequently. "Everyone is beginning to look at this as a living document," he said.