TOBA Latest Group to Support Medication Ban

TOBA has come out in support of a ban on race-day medication.

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association said April 14 it supports the recent proposal by the Association of Racing Commissioners International to develop a plan to eliminate the use of race-day medication.

TOBA is the latest organization to support the RCI position, which was announced during the organization’s annual meeting in late March.

“Our current medication policy impairs our ability to compete in the domestic gambling and entertainment market, as well as the international bloodstock market, due to the widespread perception that our horses are over-medicated,” TOBA president Dan Metzger said in a statement.  “We can no longer ignore that sentiment.

“TOBA looks forward to working with other industry organizations to develop and implement a plan that will phase out the use of race-day medications so that our medication policies are consistent with the rest of the racing world.”

The TOBA board of directors met April 12 in Lexington.

“The industry has demonstrated that it can work together to strengthen the integrity of the sport when it decided to ban the use of androgenic anabolic steroids,” Metzger said. “Racing did not come to an end when that change to medication policy was made, and we believe this step is another in the process of increasing the integrity of our sport for all participants.”

Outside of a handful of jurisdictions, the only therapeutic medications used on race day are anti-bleeding substances—Salix and adjunct bleeder medications.

TOBA has a seat on the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, which meets April 19. The topic of race-day drugs is expected to be addressed at that meeting.

The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, which also has representation on the RMTC and is the largest horsemen's organization in North America with 30 affiliates, said it won’t have comments on the RCI push for a ban until at least April 18, when the National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors meets again to discuss medication in racing.