WV Commission Approves Changes in Drug Rules

The rules include regulatory oversight of the administration of furosemide.

The West Virginia Racing Commission July 23 unanimously approved revised Thoroughbred racing rules, including several amendments that deal with equine medication and drug testing.

The revisions stem from meetings of industry stakeholders. The rules will now make their way through the legislative approval process and could be on the books by spring of 2014.

A public comment period produced only three responses.

"At this time the rule is in position for the racing commission to vote on the next steps in the rule-making process," said senior deputy attorney general Kelli Talbott, who noted The Jockey Club supports the changes.

The proposal includes required regulatory oversight of the administration of race-day furosemide, also called Salix or Lasix, on race day; adoption and incorporation of an updated list of controlled therapeutic substances; and a requirement that the laboratory hired by the WVRC be accredited by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.

The RMTC and Association of Racing Commissioners International prepared a model rule that lists 24 commonly used therapeutic drugs along with their threshold levels and withdrawal times. According to a summary of the West Virginia rules, the state already has medication thresholds for seven of the 24.

"(The amendment) would clarify that the administration guidelines for the medications contained in the schedule are recommended and that, ultimately, the post-race test result for a horse is the determining factor in the imposition of medication penalties."

Talbott said the proposed West Virginia rules are similar to those being adopted by other Mid-Atlantic states as part of a push for medication uniformity.