RCI to Consider Broader 'Prohibited Practices' Policy

The board of directors of the Association of Racing Commissioners International will consider adoption of a policy that would make treatments such as hypoxic therapy prohibited practices until their impact on horses is scientifically demonstrated.

Blood-doping is already a prohibited practice. Hypoxic training, by which a device is used to replicate high altitudes, is currently in use in Australia and perhaps in the United States.

RCI president Lonny Powell said the board would discuss the matter at its Aug. 2 meeting. Concerns center on the lack of research and data, as well as unwillingness by people to share information as to whether hypoxic training enhances performance.

"It won't be the last of the new-wave therapies," Powell said. "From the RCI's perspective, we think we should address these things now, and put a slow-down or stop on them. We need to put vendors and manufacturers on notice to validate their claims. Foreign authorities are dealing with very much the same issues."

Powell said even though hypoxic therapy has been a topic of recent discussion, but the proposed RCI policy would include similar treatments and other alleged therapeutic programs for horses.