Medication Panel Agrees to Move Forward on Plan

Representatives from about 20 industry organizations unanimously endorsed a plan to develop a national medication policy during a teleconference Jan. 28. The action followed the first Racehorse Medication Summit, held Dec. 4, 2001, in Tucson, Ariz.

Participants authorized the creation of a veterinary advisory committee that will compile a list of medications regularly used to treat racehorses, and information on dosage, administration, and medical indications.

The group also authorized the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Racing Integrity and Drug Testing Task Force to gather information and existing research on substances that may be considered "contaminants" in testing samples.

Jim Gallagher, executive director of the NTRA task force, said two advisory committees -- veterinarians and chemists -- will complile information on medication use. The veterinarians will identify medications and their pharmacology, while the chemists will look at how drugs are detected. Gallagher said he expects there will be "an exchange between the two groups."

"The group agreed the (American Association of Equine Practitioners) would be delegated the responsibility to prepare the list of medications...that will be shared by the entire group," Gallagher said.

Members of the committees have not been selected, but Gallagher said the group was in "general agreement to at least gauge the interest" of Dr. George Maylin of Cornell University, and Dr. Rick Sams of Ohio State University. Maylin had input in the medication and drug-testing guidelines offered by the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association last December.

The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association had requested that its advisor, Dr. Thomas Tobin of the University of Kentucky, participate in the national medication endeavor in some capacity. Gallagher indicated the group asked him to contact Tobin, who said would fit well on the veterinary advisory committee.

Gallagher also said the Jan. 29 teleconference participants agreed any national effort must include all breeds, and that it be "as regionally diverse as possible." The next meeting could be held in a month, he said.

The participants in the teleconference were: Drs. Rick Arthur, Tom Brokken, and Robert Lewis of the AAEP; Remi Bellocq and Kent Stirling of the National HBPA; Stan Bergstein of Harness Tracks of America; Paul Berube of the Thoroughbred Racing and Protective Bureau; Gary Biszantz and Dan Metzger of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association; Dan Fick and Scoop Vessels of the American Quarter Horse Association; Alan Foreman of the THA; Gallagher and Dr. Scot Waterman of the NTRA; Darrell Haire of the Jockeys' Guild; Ed Halpern of the California Thoroughbred Trainers; Dr. Ted Hill and Hans Stahl of The Jockey Club; Mike Hopkins and Ben Nolt of the North American Pari-Mutuel Regulators Association; Dr. Ron Jensen of the California Horse Racing Board; Richard Mandella, the California-based trainer; Terry Meyocks of the New York Racing Association; Fred Noe of the United States Trotting Association; Lonny Powell of the Association of Racing Commissioners International; Sam Ramer of the United Thoroughbred Trainers Association; Chris Scherf of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations; David Switzer of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association; and John Van de Kamp of the Thoroughbred Owners of California.