National HBPA to Focus on Threshold Levels

The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has put together its own guidelines for national drug-testing and will unveil the model Thursday morning during a press conference at Keeneland.

Kent Stirling, executive director of the Florida HBPA and chairman of the National HBPA's medication committee, and Marty Maline, executive director of the Kentucky HBPA, said testing thresholds play a big part in the organization's model. The University of Kentucky's Dr. Thomas Tobin, who advises the National HBPA on medication matters, is expected to participate in the press conference, they said.

Threshold, or decision, levels have been scrutinized in light of medication positives charged to some high-profile trainers. In general, industry officials believe medication rules and penalties haven't kept pace with improved drug-testing procedures.

The information to be presented Thursday was developed by the National HBPA and isn't related to a comprehensive report issued in August by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Racing Integrity and Drug Testing Task Force. The Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association has publicly endorsed that report, but the National HBPA has not.

Stirling and other horsemen's representatives have said the NTRA task force report showed that Thoroughbred racing is a relatively clean sport by virtue of the low number of positives that resulted from the super-testing program. Since the report's release, however, task force officials have said the number of positives would theoretically be higher if a much larger number of samples is considered.