Kentucky Approves 'Rapid Response' Protocol

Horse racing commission backs plan to research and develop tests for emerging drugs.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved a pair of recommendations from the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council July 17, including a "Rapid Response" protocol to examine emerging illegal drugs.

The KHRC approved a process that will readily provide the state's testing facility, HFL Sport Science, funds to research the use of reported new illegal substances and develop testing for such substances.

As part of the protocol, HFL Sport Science will receive up to $250,000 annually to spend on such research. Funding will be set aside for HFL to take more immediate action in such situations, in concert with the KHRC equine medical director (Dr. Mary Scollay), KEDRC chairman (currently Dr. Jerry Yon), KHRC executive director (currently John Ward), and KHRC chairman (currently Robert Beck Jr.).

Emerging threats will be reported to the equine medical director, who will conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the relative threat in Kentucky. She will work with HFL at this stage and will inform the KEDRC chairman and KHRC executive director of the investigation.

HFL Sport Science will work to identify the drug and develop a test for it. For instance, if the drug is available, research horses could be administered the drug on an experimental basis to see how it acts and develop a test. HFL director Dr. Rick Sams said the new protocol will give the lab a chance to halt emerging illegal drugs.

The EDRC, which is an industry advisory panel on medication issues, also recommended in June that Scollay represent the KHRC on the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium board and on its finance committee. The finance committee position on the industry organization that tackles medication and testing issues carries with it a $15,000 fee.

The KHRC approved both of those recommendations July 17. Scollay noted that no other regulatory body is currently represented on the RMTC board.