Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
A nationwide movement to adopt uniform national reforms addressing changes to medication regulation, enforcement and laboratory testing continues to gain support and momentum.
As of November 1, nine states, including the entire mid-Atlantic region, have approved the new medication reforms that are a central component of the reform effort. The states are Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. The rules are currently under consideration in Arkansas, California, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, New Mexico and Wyoming.
Three laboratories that conduct equine drug testing for six racing jurisdictions have received accreditation from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) and laboratories conducting testing for 19 other racing states have applied for RMTC accreditation. Laboratories receiving full RMTC accreditation are The University of California-Davis (which tests samples for racehorses in California and New Mexico) and HSL Sports Science (which conducts testing for Kentucky, Maine and Virginia). The Ohio Department of Agriculture has been granted interim accreditation by the RMTC, with only a site inspection remaining before it receives a full accreditation designation.
Industrial Laboratories (which conducts testing for Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wyoming), Truesdail Laboratories (Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington), Dalare Associates (Delaware and West Virginia), New York Drug Testing and Research Program (New York) and Pennsylvania Equine Toxicology and Research Laboratory (Pennsylvania) have applied for RMTC accreditation.
Significant progress is also being made in the area of third-party administration of Furosemide (otherwise known as Lasix or Salix). The Furosemide restrictions require that Furosemide be the only medication authorized for administration on race day and limit Furosemide administration to no less than four hours prior to post time for the race in which the horse is entered. The Furosemide restrictions also require that the administration of Furosemide be performed only by third-party veterinarians or veterinary technicians who are prohibited from working as private veterinarians or technicians on the racetrack or with participating licensees. The program is under way or in the process of being established in no fewer than 14 states, including Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania (at Penn National), Texas (at Lone Star Park and Sam Houston Race Park), Virginia and West Virginia.
A total of seven states have committed to implementation of the Multiple Medication Violation (MMV) Penalty System and regulators in many other states have indicated a desire to adopt the MMV Penalty System once the uniform medication rules are passed in their respective jurisdictions.
“We urge all racing states to adopt these rules in their entirety,” said NTRA President and CEO Alex Waldrop, who also serves as Chairman of the RMTC. “They are comprehensive and far reaching, and they establish a process for future modification to reflect the latest scientific research and development. These rules are in the best interests of the health and safety of our human and equine athletes, enhance the integrity of our sport, ensure a level playing field for our competitors, assist horsemen who race in multiple jurisdictions and accomplish the uniform regulation of racing in the United States.”
The reforms were developed by the RMTC, the industry’s scientific advisory organization consisting of 25 major racing industry stakeholder organizations, and the Association of Racing Commissioners International (“RCI”), the industry’s association of state regulatory bodies responsible for the integrity of racing. RMTC recommended the Reforms to RCI and RCI voted to incorporate the Reforms into their official Model Rules earlier this year. Individual regulatory bodies must now move to adopt the Reforms.
In late September, the NTRA sent a letter to pari-mutuel regulators urging them to adopt uniform national reforms addressing much-needed changes to medication regulation, enforcement and laboratory testing. The letter was co-signed by more than 50 racetracks and industry organizations. Several more racetracks have signed on as co-signatories to the letter. The new co-signatories are Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.; Arlington Park near Chicago; Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in New Orleans; Calder Casino & Race Course near Miami; Tampa Bay Downs in Florida; and Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky.
The reforms are accessible online at http://www.ntra.com/feeds/testingrules.html.