Panel Withdraws Support of Research Project

Project was one of six approved for funding in 2010.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s Equine Drug Research Council has withdrawn support and funding for one of six projects that it had approved for 2010.

During its Oct. 26 meeting that preceded the full KHRC meeting, the EDRC voted 5-2 to withdraw funding for a project by Dr. Thomas Tobin to develop internal standards for equine therapeutic medication regulation. The standards are used by regulators in determining a drug sample taken from a horse exceeds quantitative threshold levels.

Tobin’s project was one of six approved by the EDRC and the KHRC for 2010. Of the remaining five, one is not scheduled to begin until spring 2011 because it involves mares that were bred in 2010 and the other four are underway and being monitored by the KHRC equine medical staff and EDRC, according to information provided at the meeting. All of the projects are conducted through the Kentucky Equine Initiative at the University of Kentucky.

Dr. Jerry Yon, EDRC chair, explained that Tobin’s project had undergone numerous changes since first being approved and as a result was still not underway. Among the changes was a cost increase from $10,000 per medication for the 10 medications for which the standards would be developed to $14,000 per test.

Yon also said that there was a problem with Tobin’s project when it was determined that it would be conducted in association with "an outside vendor not associated with UK."

Also during the meeting, KHRC equine medical director Dr. Mary Scollay said she had been informed that the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium had authorized a project similar to Tobin’s project, with standards to be established for 20 medications at a cost of $10,000 per test.

Tobin questioned whether the medications that are part of the RMTC project would be the same ones that the KHRC would be getting through his work and also how long it would take before the RMTC’s standards could be completed.

Tobin requested that the EDRC not make a final decision on his project until he had time to look into RMTC’s research proposals to see how the medications compare with those in his project and whether he could reduce the cost of his project.

Yon pointed out that the EDRC had "shown a lot of deference" to Tobin and his project and that he could re-apply for funding when the next round of research contracts are considered for 2011.