RMTC Board Approves Model Rule on Penalties

The changes call for a cumulative points system for medication violations.

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium said July 19 its board of directors has approved a model rule on multiple violation penaltiesso-called MVPsand forwarded the suggested change to the Association of Racing Commissioners International for consideration.

RCI will hold model rules and board meetings July 30-31 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

The MVP regulation, which is similar to the system used for motor vehicle violations, is based on RCI drug and penalty classifications. There will be fewer points assigned for positives for commonly used controlled therapeutic medications, of which there are 24 on a list developed by the RMTC.

The model rule would require trainers that accumulate a certain number of points to serve additional suspensions of 30 to 360 days depending on the infraction. Violations in all jurisdictions will be cumulative. For example, a suspension in Kentucky and another in New York would both contribute to the points total, and there are provisions for trainers' records to be cleared after a certain period.

"RMTC formed the penalties subcommittee in response to our industry's desire to eliminate the broad disparities in penalties across the various jurisdictions and to create a penalty system that is an effective deterrent against intentional violation of medication rules to gain unfair advantage in racing," RMTC chairman Dr. Robert Lewis said in a release. "The RMTC board believes these suggested guidelines are a big step in that direction."

"The MVP model rule is the result of two years of work by the RMTC Penalties Subcommittee," RMTC executive director Dr. Dionne Benson said. "The concerns of all interested parties were heard and discussed extensively during that time. The resulting rule represents a reasonable and straightforward method for addressing the issue of repeat medication violations."

The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association recently discussed several changes it plans to recommend to the RCI Model Rules Committee. The organization had earlier discussions about the model rule with Alan Foreman, chairman of the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association.

Foreman, the RMTC vice chairman, said most if not all comments submitted by the National HBPA and other groups were discussed. He called the model rule a "living document" and acknowledged it could be revised as needed.