An overhaul of the West Virginia rules of racing, including revisions in the area of equine medication and penalties, has passed the state legislature. The document was filed April 11 with the Secretary of State.
The new rules, which took more than half a year to prepare, take effect July 10, said Deputy Attorney General Kelli Talbott, who represents the West Virginia Racing Commission.
The rules mandate pre-race veterinary exams for racehorses at the state’s two Thoroughbred tracks, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort. Such exams are a pre-requisite for accreditation through the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety and Integrity Alliance.
As for medication, the rules are now more in line with the Association of Racing Commissioners International model rule. They also set new penalty guidelines, including an increase in the maximum allowable fine from $1,000 to $5,000.
There is a requirement that all three stewards at each racetrack be employees of the WVRC, thus eliminating having stewards on a track’s payroll. The rules also allow for an increase in jockey mount fees, and allow for and regulate advertising on jockeys’ silks.
Talbott said the WVRC began the process in November 2009 by appointing a committee that included representatives of the two Thoroughbred tracks, the Charles Town and Mountaineer horsemen’s groups, the Jockeys’ Guild, the West Virginia Thoroughbred Breeders Association, WVRC chief stewards, and legal counsel from the state Attorney General’s office. In addition, Joe Strug, a chemist with Dalare Associates, the state’s equine testing laboratory, and Dr. Scot Waterman, executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, served as consultants.
In West Virginia as in other states, one of three non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be administered in a racehorse at least 24 hours before post time. The three NSAIDs that can be used are phenylbutazone, flunixin, and ketoprofen, according to the regulations.
Salix, the anti-bleeding drug, is permitted on race day but in a quantity of no more than 100 nanograms per milliliter of plasma at the time of a race. Use of adjunct bleeder medications—aminocaproic acid, tranexamic acid, and carbazochrome—is permitted on race day and must be reported along with Salix.
Out-of-competition testing for blood- and gene-doping substances is permitted under the new rules of racing.