RMTC Works on Steroids Policy, Withdrawal Times

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium plans to recommend a model policy on anabolic steroids later this year and also has approved a plan to establish model policies for withdrawal times for therapeutic drugs used in racehorses.

The group also said it would work with the Association of Racing Commissioners International to develop a model rule for out-of-competition testing. The practice would allow for random drug tests similar to those now authorized in Ontario, Canada, in an attempt to combat suspected blood-doping.

The RMTC, which met June 27 in Texas, said use of anabolic steroids in racehorses and horses at auction is a "significant issue" in the industry. During the meeting, RMTC secretary Dr. Rick Arthur of California presented a report from the group's subcommittee on anabolic steroids.

Following a complete review of existing research and rules from international racing jurisdictions, the subcommittee plans to deliver its preliminary recommendations for a model policy on anabolic steroids in November. (The American Association of Equine Practitioners already has recommended anabolic steroids not be present in horses on sale grounds, though no policy has been adopted.)

For therapeutic medications, the RMTC said it would survey racing commissions and compile existing withdrawal guidelines for 50 substances identified by the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Then, it will prepare a request for proposal on drugs that require more research.

RMTC officials said the research process would be "fast-tracked" so the necessary data would be readily available.

"We will continue our survey of current withdrawal times in each state with the goal of producing guidelines that can be published and placed on the RMTC Web site so horsemen will have a better idea of therapeutics allowed in individual jurisdictions," RMTC chairman Dan Fick said in a release.

The RMTC said it would relocate its office from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association headquarters to The Jockey Club offices. Both are located in Lexington.