ARCI releases upgraded parameters for out-of-competition testing

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Dec. 16, 2016

Revised provisions to tighten out-of-competition testing were approved by the Association of Racing Commissioners International board of directors Dec. 9 and will be published in model-rule form by the end of the year.

The recommendations were devised and submitted by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and, after several tweaks, approved by ARCI. The regulatory umbrella organization encouraged industry organizations to work with jurisdictions that may need financial assistance to enact or expand out-of-competition testing.

“It would be in everyone’s interest if those desiring an expansion of out-of-competition testing work with individual commissions to ensure that they have the necessary resources to do that,” ARCI President Ed Martin said in a release. “That may mean that some organizations may need to refocus their governmental advocacy to specific states as the 2017 budget process unfolds in those states.”

The ARCI this past summer deferred action on a revised out-of-competition testing rule because it would have created what it called a “safe harbor” for those seeking to “shield horses” from being tested. The new language, which uses the RMTC rule as a basis, eliminates a one-hour advance notice requirement, the ability for a trainer to delay sampling for 24 hours, and scraps a prohibition on taking samples from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., ARCI said.

The adopted rule permits out-of-competition testing at a reasonable time, which officials said is “language commonly used by administrative agencies conducting warrantless searches.” It also “strengthens the legal sustainability of the rule,” ARCI said.

The ARCI also adopted a prohibited list of substance to further underscore and clarify many restrictions already contained in model rules and its Uniform Classification document. The rule creates a therapeutic use restriction created for some legal medications; regulators said the language shouldn’t be confused with therapeutic use exemptions that are part of the World Anti-Doping Association code for prohibited substances that can be used in training and competition with permission.

Other aspects of the new out-of-competition rule are as follows:

  • Depending on the substance, restrictions may apply beyond documentation in veterinary records and formal prescription. In some cases, disclosure to or written permission from the commission may be necessary. Certain anabolic androgenic steroids such as boldenone, nandrolone or stanozolol will require pre-filing of a treatment plan.
  • Depending on the substance used by a vet, some horses may be excluded from competition and placed on the vet’s list for 60 or 180 days. The new rule requires no drug be administered to a racehorse except in the context of a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship between an attending vet, the horse owner–who may be represented by the trainer or other agent–and the horse.
  • No medication may be administered without a vet having examined the horse and provided the treatment recommendation. The rule also requires that veterinary judgments be independent and not dictated by the trainer or owner of the horse.