The West Virginia Racing Commission plans to launch its out-of-competition program in conjunction with the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (gr. II) Aug. 6 at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort.
WVRC executive director Joe Moore June 21 said officials met at Mountaineer "to continue working on (developing) an out-of-competition testing program. The desire is to have the program in place for the West Virginia Derby. We'll also be going to Charles Town to meet with employees in the hope of having the procedures in place for the Charles Town Oaks."
The Oaks, a grade III event at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, is scheduled for Sept. 17.
Kelli Talbott, senior deputy attorney general for the WVRC, said a basic out-of-competition testing rule has been on the books for a few years, and that rule will be used for the two graded stakes this year. The plan is to include a more detailed out-of-competition testing rule devised by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and Association of Racing Commissioners International in the next rule-making cycle in the state.
RMTC executive director Dr. Dionne Benson visited Mountaineer to discuss the program with track and regulatory officials.
"They're definitely going about it the right way," Benson said. "They asked for information about how other states handle it, and I gave them information and advice on best practices. A lot of horses ship in for (the West Virginia Derby), so we discussed the most effective and efficient way to get (blood) samples at a time that would be helpful in deterring inappropriate behavior."
The RMTC is hoping the more comprehensive regulations for out-of-competition testing are adopted by all racing jurisdictions.
"The goal is to get that rule in place in every jurisdiction," Benson said. "It would lead to a much more aggressive (program). So it's good to see the (WVRC) willing to take on that responsibility."