Drug Consortium Elects Officers; Progress on Policy

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium has elected officers, chosen an executive director, and put the finishing touches on few sections of its proposed model policy for medication and drug testing.

The consortium, made up of 26 industry stakeholders, met Feb. 4 in Atlanta, Ga. Dr. Scot Waterman, executive director of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Racing Integrity and Drug Testing Task Force, said the chairman, vice chairman, secretary, treasurer, and executive director would be officially introduced in the near future.

Sources said Breeders' Cup president and NTRA vice chairman D.G. Van Clief Jr. was elected chairman; Paul Berube, president of the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau, was elected vice chairman; Alan Foreman, chief executive officer of the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, was elected secretary; and Lonny Powell, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, was chosen as treasurer.

Van Clief acknowledged he had been elected chairman, but said he wanted to contact the Breeders' Cup and NTRA boards as a courtesy. He represents the NTRA on the consortium in place of Waterman, who was hired to serve as executive director.

Waterman, who withheld comment on governance issues, has worked for the NTRA task force for several years, but also has facilitated the consortium's endeavors. The NTRA panel has more or less morphed into the consortium.

"I'm flattered to have been selected chairman," Van Clief said. "The consortium is on a path toward resolution of important issues."

The completed sections of the model policy will be sent to the Joint Model Rules Committee of the RCI and North American Pari-Mutuel Regulators Association for review.

"One of the big things we agreed on was a systematic process for scientific review of therapeutic medications," Waterman said. "We have a process we all agree on."

Other participants called the meeting productive, and said all parties are on board even though the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association took some heat for comments made during its Medication Committee meeting Jan. 26 in Phoenix, Ariz. At a subsequent board of directors meeting, however, the full National HBPA board endorsed a motion to urge affiliates to investigate bridge funding for the consortium.

The consortium also approved a letter that will be sent to various universities, laboratories, and animal science programs about the availability of funds for research projects. The applications will be reviewed and awards announced in August.

The consortium has about $500,000 available for research projects. Its total 2003 budget, which relies on industry contributions, stands at $800,000.

Waterman also said the consortium plans to have a Web site to disseminate information and serve as an industry resource. The Jockey Club is assisting with its design.