Model Rule for Medication Penalties Endorsed

Penalty Guidelines for Multiple Medication Violations passed by RCI board in July.

The Racing Officials Accreditation Program board of directors has endorsed the Penalty Guidelines for Multiple Medication Violations passed by the Association of Racing Commissioners International board and Model Rules Committee in July.

According to ROAP, the Aug. 22 vote carried one abstention from Phil Hanrahan, the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association representative on the ROAP board.

The Penalty Guidelines for Multiple Medication Violations, which is projected to be implemented in some states as early as Jan. 1, 2014, initiates a point system for equine medication violations similar to that used by state motor vehicle agencies, according to a ROAP release.

The rule calls for points to be assigned to every trainer's fine and suspension history in the RCI database by way of a separate ruling. That separate ruling would occur in the jurisdiction that issues an underlying equine medication positive test infraction that "triggers" a penalty phase plateau in the points system structure.

"We believe that it is important for ROAP to support the current efforts in the industry to unify medication regulations and specifically the new penalty system given that the stewards and judges will be responsible for implementing these regulations at the track level," ROAP chairman Hugh Gallagher said in the release. "This is a rule designed to protect our racehorses first. It is a fundamentally sound rule that is ready for implementation today.

"What lies before us is the challenging work of having all jurisdictions in full participation, compliance, and reciprocity as well a clear understanding of how this rule will be implemented by stewards and judges in North America and the Caribbean."

ROAP accredits stewards, judges, and racing officials in all three disciplines of racingflat (Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse), harness, and steeplechase. Additionally, continuing education courses are required every two years to maintain accreditation and the Penalty Guidelines for Multiple Medication Violations will be included in future continuing education seminars.