The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium board granted interim accreditation to the University of Florida Racing Laboratory during its Feb. 13 meeting at Gulfstream Park.
The UFRL is poised to become the 10th race-testing lab to receive full RMTC accreditation. The lab performs testing of Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, and Standardbred samples for the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.
"The addition of the Florida Racing Laboratory marks a milestone in the RMTC accreditation program, as we are now very close to full RMTC accreditation of every horse racing testing laboratory in the United States," said RMTC executive director Dr. Dionne Benson. "The addition of the Florida laboratory would not have been possible without support and assistance from The Stronach Group, the Florida (Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association), the Florida Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, and the University of Florida Racing Laboratory's leadership."
Prior to creation of the RMTC accreditation program, there were nearly 20 laboratories performing horse race testing in the United States—many without any type of accreditation. Since that time much of the laboratory work has been consolidated. Today there are 13 laboratories performing testing on racehorses in the United States—10 of which are now RMTC-accredited or interim accredited.
According to RMTC accredited and interim accredited laboratories are now responsible for the testing of samples for 32 pari-mutuel racing jurisdictions in the U.S., including Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachussetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
That leaves Louisiana as the major Thoroughbred racing state still not using an RMTC-accredited lab.
RMTC accredited laboratories are required to participate in multiple rounds of quality assurance program testing prior to accreditation and each year after accreditation. The quality assurance program acts as a check on the laboratories, to ensure they are able to detect and quantify substances of concern in horse racing.
"RMTC accreditation ensures that laboratories can consistently and reliably detect a wide variety of substances at low concentrations, which is a key to providing a racing product in the U.S. that is safe and fair," said RMTC chairman Alex Waldrop. "The progress of the RMTC Laboratory Accreditation Program underscores the effectiveness of the RMTC in promoting laboratory proficiency and uniformity across the racing industry."
The RMTC consists of 23 racing industry stakeholders and organizations that represent Thoroughbred, Standardbred, Quarter Horse, and Arabian racing. The organization works to develop and promote uniform rules, policies, and testing standards at the national level; coordinate research and educational programs that seek to ensure the integrity of racing, and the health and welfare of racehorses and participants; and protect the interests of the racing public.