NY Horsemen Present Medication Reform Policy

Five-point plan addresses many issues bringing criticism to racing, they believe.

The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association April 13 announced a plan to reform medication policies in Thoroughbred racing. The five-point proposal, first presented last year, is designed to address many of the issues that have recently brought criticism to the sport.

"While we are hoping for industry-wide support for our proposal, our first obligation is to New York, and we believe the initiative should start here," said NYTHA President Rick Violette Jr. "These exact points were presented to several industry organizations and leaders last year, only to fall on mostly deaf ears. This is the time to get on the bus, or move out of the way."

New York is currently in compliance with one of the five points; the goal is that the plan will become a blueprint for medication policies in racing jurisdictions nationwide.

The five points of the plan are:

1) A threshold of 2mcg of Bute (phenylbutazone) in post-race testing for all runners, not just graded stakes horses. Currently, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board rule mandates a 48-hour withdrawal for Bute for all horses.

2) No adjunct raceday medication allowed. Adjunct medications are used in some jurisdictions to prevent Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage. They are not allowed in New York.

3) A 15-day withdrawal for Depo-Medrol (methylprednisolone acetate), and a four-day withdrawal for other corticosteroids.

4) A seven-day withdrawal for clenbuterol. The current withdrawal period in New York is four days.

5) Third-party administrators for race day Lasix, also nown as Salix. Lasix will be administered by veterinarians hired by either the racetrack or the state. That is the current NYRA policy, but would become a state regulation.

The plan has been put before the state racing and wagering board. In order for the medication reform proposal to be adopted, the NYSRWB must start the rule-changing process, which begins with a 45-day public comment period. Public hearings will be scheduled if there is opposition to the plan.