Two more national organizations have called on Kentucky to move forward with medication reform regulations shot down by a legislative committee Aug. 27.
On Aug. 30 the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and National Thoroughbred Racing Association joined The Jockey Club and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association in supporting the rules, which are scheduled to take effect when the Turfway Park meet begins Sept. 6.
The Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations found the regulations "deficient" after strong lobbying by the leadership of the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. The regulations ban use of adjunct bleeder medications on race day; require regulatory administration of furosemide, also called Salix or Lasix; and lower the permitted level of phenylbutazone, which is known as Bute.
The regulations are among those developed and passed by the RMTC, and then made into model rules by the Association of Racing Commissioners International.
"The RMTC-recommended model rule on race-day medication was developed by the RMTC after thorough analysis of available scientific and veterinary data," RMTC chairman Dr. Robert Lewis said. "It was thoughtfully discussed and considered by all members and was approved by an overwhelming majority of the board of directors.
"Ultimately, the board determined that approving these regulations was imperative to protecting our equine athletes and furthering the RMTC's mission of strengthening the integrity of racing. Furthermore, each provision was already being successfully administered at one or more racing jurisdictions in North America when they were developed as a national uniform model rule."
"Adoption of these regulations by racing commissions is an important step for uniform rules, policies, and testing standards at the national level," RMTC executive director and chief operating officer Dr. Dionne Benson said. "The racing public and racing participants deserve a national uniform medication policy. We encourage Kentucky and all horse racing jurisdictions in the U.S. to adopt them."
The NTRA called on Kentucky to move forward. Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear can overrule the interim committee vote and allow the rules to take effect as scheduled; industry groups are lobbying him to do so.
"These rule changes have been developed with industry-wide input and are supported by national racing organizations representing owners and trainers, veterinarians, tracks, and regulators," NTRA chief executive officer Alex Waldrop said. "These important integrity measures need to be implemented by Kentucky and all other racing states now."