(Edited press release)
The Association of Racing Commissioners International Model Rules Committee approved changes to existing model rules in an effort to crack down on suspended trainers transferring horses to family members or close associates during their time of suspension. The rule was approved by the committee during a meeting at the Lexington Hilton Downtown Hotel and Conference Center April 20.
Also during the meeting, the model rules committee recommended a uniform total carbon dioxide testing rule and split sample procedure to set the regulatory threshold at 37.0 millimoles per liter of plasma/serum. Total carbon dioxide testing, known by the abbreviation TCO2, is done to detect for the practice of "milkshaking," or force-feeding a horse a mixture of bicarbonate of soda before it competes. The administration of alkalizing agents like bicarbonate of soda are designed to reduce fatigue levels in a horse or, some believe, to mask the presence of other drugs.
In addition, the committee also indicated an interest in reopening the penalty guidelines with an eye toward increasing deterrents.
"We are in a constant battle to enhance the integrity of racing while protecting the welfare our equine athletes. Today the committee, working with input from various industry groups, made important progress on a number of fronts, and this underscores why the RCI Model Rule process has worked since its inception in the 1930's," said Ed Martin, RCI President.
The committee also addressed rules pertaining to pre-race exams; veterinarian’s list; official veterinarian duties; safety vest standards; traction device definition; microchips and freeze brands; horseshoe inspector duties; transfer of ownership; horse registration certificates; transfer of claimed horses; and weight penalties.
The committee recommended rule changes will now be forwarded to the full RCI membership for consideration April 23. If approved by the full membership, the full-text rules can be found on the ARCI Web site at www.arci.com.
The model rules committee meeting was held in conjunction with the RCI conference on racing and wagering integrity. The four-day conference runs through April 24.