Medication, Testing Reforms Gain Support

NTRA report shows medication reforms adopted by nine states.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association reports that the effort to adopt uniform national reforms addressing changes to medication regulation, enforcement, and laboratory testing continues to gain support.

As of Nov. 1, the new medication reforms that are a central component of the reform effort have been adopted by Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. The rules are currently under consideration in Arkansas, California, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, New Mexico, and Wyoming, according to the NTRA press release.

In addition, three laboratories that conduct equine drug testing for six racing jurisdictions have received accreditation from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and laboratories conducting testing for 19 other racing states have applied for RMTC accreditation. Laboratories receiving full RMTC accreditation are the University of California-Davis (which tests samples for racehorses in California and New Mexico) and HSL Sports Science (which conducts testing for Kentucky, Maine, and Virginia). The Ohio Department of Agriculture has been granted interim accreditation by the RMTC, with only a site inspection remaining before it receives a full accreditation designation.

The labs that have applied for RMTC accreditation are Industrial Laboratories (which conducts testing for Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wyoming), Truesdail Laboratories (Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington), Dalare Associates (Delaware and West Virginia), New York Drug Testing and Research Program (New York), and Pennsylvania Equine Toxicology and Research Laboratory (Pennsylvania).

The NTRA reported that at least 14 states have put into effect or are in the process of establishing third-party administration of the anti-bleeder medication furosemide, also known as Salix or Lasix. The restrictions require that furosemide be the only medication authorized for administration on race day and limit furosemide administration to no less than four hours prior to post time for the race in which the horse is entered. The furosemide restrictions also require that the administration be performed only by third-party veterinarians or veterinary technicians who are prohibited from working as private veterinarians or technicians on the racetrack or with participating licensees. The program is under way or in the process of being established in Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania (at Penn National), Texas (at Lone Star Park and Sam Houston Race Park), Virginia, and West Virginia.

A total of seven states have committed to implementation of the Multiple Medication Violation Penalty System and regulators in other states have indicated a desire to adopt the MMV Penalty System once the uniform medication rules are passed in their respective jurisdictions, according to the NTRA.

You may be interested in our growing Medication Rules for Major Racing States library.

"We urge all racing states to adopt these rules in their entirety," NTRA president and RMTC chairman Alex Waldrop said in a statement. "They are comprehensive and far reaching, and they establish a process for future modification to reflect the latest scientific research and development. These rules are in the best interests of the health and safety of our human and equine athletes, enhance the integrity of our sport, ensure a level playing field for our competitors, assist horsemen who race in multiple jurisdictions, and accomplish the uniform regulation of racing in the United States."

The reforms were developed by the RMTC and the Association of Racing Commissioners International. RMTC recommended the reforms to RCI and RCI voted to incorporate the reforms into their official Model Rules earlier this year.  

In late September, the NTRA sent a letter co-signed by more than 50 racetracks and industry organizations to pari-mutuel regulators urging them to adopt uniform national reforms addressing much-needed changes to medication regulation, enforcement, and laboratory testing. Subsequently, the letter has received co-signatures from Churchill Downs, Arlington Park, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Calder Casino & Race Course, Tampa Bay Downs, and Kentucky Downs.