Is Mid-Atlantic 'Template' for Drug Reform?

A major meeting was held Feb. 6, and sources said there was some progress.

Industry stakeholders, mostly from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, met Feb. 6 in Delaware to examine equine medication policy in an attempt to bring about uniformity from state to state.

The meeting, put together by Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association chairman Alan Foreman, was attended by more than 40 people. Among the groups with representatives were the Association of Racing Commissioners International, American Association of Equine Practitioners, The Jockey Club, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and THA affiliates. Racing commissioners also sent representatives.

Sources with knowledge of the meeting said there is support for adoption of uniform rules and penalties from many jurisdictions. The horsemen's groups, they said, are the ones demanding it, particularly because of the large amount of shipping to race that goes on in the region.

One individual said the Mid-Atlantic region could provide a "template" for the rest of the country, while another said the meeting, if all parties agree, could produce "the biggest shift in uniformity" since the ban on anabolic steroids.

There will be no formal comment on the meeting until recommendations and perhaps commitments are received, sources said.

An example of differing rules is the bronchodilator clenbuterol. The withdrawal time for the drug in the region spans anywhere from two days to two weeks; New York racing officials claim the discrepancy has led to a reduction in shippers from nearby states.

The THA has affiliates in Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Illinois representatives attended the Feb. 6 meeting, as did officials from Massachusetts, where the gaming commission is pushing for reformed equine medication rules.