Tracks, Groups Push for Model Drug Rules

More than 50 racetracks and industry organizations have co-signed a letter to regulators urging them to adopt the uniform national model rules on medication and drug-testing reform.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, which sent the letter, said Oct. 3 it specifies "model medication guidelines, inclusion in a multiple violator penalty system, and participation in laboratory accreditation and quality assurance programs." The model rules were adopted by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and then by the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

"Nationwide adoption of these reforms is essential to safeguarding horses and riders and providing uniformity to fans and participants alike," Alex Waldrop, president and chief executive officer of the NTRA and chairman of the RMTC, stated in the letter. "If you have not done so already, we urge you to commit to the reforms and move expeditiously to adopt all aspects of the reforms."

The NTRA said racing commissioners were told to expect "direct contact from industry representatives to determine their commitment to the reforms and timeline for adoption." Several jurisdictions have already adopted the model rules or have pledged to do so by Jan. 1, 2014.

Along with the letter, the NTRA sent 60 pages of exhibits explaining the rules and any research behind them. The package is available online here.

The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, which has about 30 affiliates in the U.S. and Canada, has not signed the letter, nor has Churchill Downs Inc.-owned properties.

The United States Trotting Association didn't either, having left the RMTC and and telling RCI it doesn't support the model rules. Harness tracks owned by Penn National Gaming Inc., however, did sign the letter, and the RMTC announced Oct. 3 that the Indiana Standardbred Association has signed on as a contributor.

"The campaign to get additional tracks or organizations to sign on is ongoing," said Jim Mulvihill, director of industry and media relations for the NTRA. "If others offer support we will continue to update the list at NTRA.com to further demonstrate the widespread industry support for uniformity."

The list of signatories as of Oct. 3 follows:

American Association of Equine Practitioners

American Quarter Horse Association

Arabian Jockey Club 

Association of Racing Commissioners International

Betfair Hollywood Park

Breeders' Cup

California Thoroughbred Breeders Association

Del Mar

Global Gaming Solutions

Lone Star Park

Remington Park

Keeneland

Kentucky Thoroughbred Association

Monmouth Park

National Thoroughbred Racing Association

NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance

New York Thoroughbred Breeders

Oak Tree Racing Association

Penn National Gaming Inc. (Hollywood Casino, Hotel and Raceway; Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races; Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course; Raceway Park; Beulah Park; Rosecroft Raceway; Sam Houston Race Park; Freehold Raceway; and Zia Park Racetrack and Casino)

Racing Medication and Testing Consortium

Suffolk Downs

Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino

The Jockey Club

The Jockeys' Guild

The New York Racing Association (Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course)

The Stronach Group (AmTote, HRTV, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course, Portland Meadows, Santa Anita Park, and Xpressbet.com)

Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (Delaware THA, Illinois THA, Maryland THA, New Jersey THA, New York THA, and Pennsylvania THA)

Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association

Thoroughbred Owners of California

Thoroughbred Racing Associations

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