Breeders' Cup Revises Medication Policy

Minimum one-year suspension from championships for Class 2, Category A violation.

The Breeders’ Cup has revised its “Convicted Trainer Rule” and will impose a minimum one-year suspension from this year’s World Championships on any trainer with a Class 2, Category A, violation during the 12 months preceding the races.

Trainers who are repeat offenders will face up to a lifetime ban, according to the April 5 announcement from Breeders’ Cup Ltd.

The action, based on the recommendation of the Breeders’ Cup’s medication committee, is an extension of the trainer rule enacted in 2011 that made trainers with any Class 1 violations in the 12 months preceding the World Championships ineligible to participate.

The revised rule, effective with the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Nov. 2-3 at Santa Anita Park in California, is as follows:

“No person may participate as a trainer of a horse pre-entered or entered in a World Championships race if that person, during the twelve months preceding the World Championships, has been found by any racing regulatory agency, whether a governmental agency or a non-governmental regulatory body, to have violated a racing regulation prohibiting the possession or use of any substance listed under Class 1, carrying Category A or B penalties, or Class 2, carrying a Category A penalty, in the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances or a racing regulation prohibiting the possession or use of steroids and the appeal periods for such finding shall have expired or all appeals, if any, will have received final disposition (a “drug conviction”).

“In the event a trainer has two drug convictions after May 1, 2012, that trainer may not participate as a trainer of a horse pre-entered or entered in a World Championships race during the next two Breeders’ Cup World Championships following the second of the two drug convictions. Conviction for a third violation after May 1 of this year will result in a lifetime ban from participation in the Championships.”

In a statement, Breeders’ Cup president and CEO Craig Fravel said, “The establishment of these new regulations for Class 2 violations reflects our number one priority of preserving the integrity of our competition and protecting the welfare of our athletes at the World Championships.”

The Breeders’ Cup said that, based on the RCI classification guidelines, Class 2 drugs “are not generally accepted as therapeutic agents in racing horses. In some instances they are therapeutic agents that have a high potential for abuse. Drugs in this class include: psychotropic drugs, certain nervous system and cardiovascular system stimulants, depressants, and neuromuscular blocking agents. Injectable local anesthetics are included in this class because of their high potential for abuse as nerve blocking agents. Examples of drugs in the Class 2, Penalty Class A, category are: Buspropion (Trade Name: Wellbutrin) or Loperamide (Trade Name: Imodium).”

According to the Breeders’ Cup, expansion of the “Convicted Trainer Rule” is part of a process to ban illegal substances from the World Championships. Beginning in 2008, anabolic steroid testing was, for the first time conducted on competitors in the Breeders’ Cup races. The Breeders’ Cup board voted that any horse found to have violated the steroid rule would face severe sanctions, including a one-year suspension from the Championships imposed on the trainer for a first violation.

“Runners competing in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup World Championships will face an array of pre-race and post-race testing,” the Breeders’ Cup release stated. “All potential participants will be eligible for selection of out-of-competition testing for EPO (blood doping) performed, as well as TCO2 (milk shaking) testing prior to all 15 Breeders’ Cup races in the Santa Anita detention barn.

"A failed EPO test would make the horse ineligible for competition and the trainer subject to suspension. Failed tests for TCO2 will result in purse redistributions and suspensions. The EPO and TCO2 testing policies were first instituted by Breeders’ Cup at the 2007 Championships at Monmouth Park. Post-race testing will be performed on the first four finishers and any other horse(s) selected by the stewards. These urine and/or blood samples will undergo 'super’ testing for all known performance enhancing drugs and to ensure that no allowed medications have exceeded their approved limits.”