RMTC targets illicit substances, recommends model rules

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Aug. 26, 2017

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium has signed off on two research projects designed to target illicit substances and plans to launch a four-year grant program to fund additional research into emerging threats.

Also at its Aug. 21 board of directors meeting, the RMTC decided to pursue several model rules, a few of which are tied to mandatory record-keeping by trainers and veterinarians.

The two studies, which received immediate funding, will deal with detection of Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators LGD-4033 compounds, which have the potential to mimic anabolic steroid effects on tissue to increase muscle mass without androgenic effects; and improving the screening of and confirmation sensitivity for EPO-stimulating administered by micro-dosing to obtain a blood-doping effect while avoiding detection.

Funding for the four-year grant program is projected to be at least $500,000, which would come from industry groups and be matched by the RMTC.

“We want this program to provide researchers a consistent funding source for these types of tactical research projects,” RMTC Executive Director Dr. Dionne Benson said. “This initiative will enable us to make significant advances in targeting emerging threats and developing new techniques to test for them–both of which are essential to effectively regulating our sport.”

The model rules that will be forwarded to the Association of Racing Commissioners International are as follows:

  • A model rule requiring every veterinarian treating a racehorse at a facility under the jurisdiction of a regulatory agency to submit a veterinarian’s medication report form to the official veterinarian or other regulatory designee in a manner specified by the agency and in an approved format.
  • A model rule requiring trainers or their designee to maintain complete records for at least the last 30 days of all corticosteroid and intra-articular injections for all horses in his or her control including the date of the injection, name of the veterinarian performing the injection, articular space(s) or structure(s) injected, medications or biologicals used to inject each articular space, and dose in milligrams of each corticosteroid.

If a horse is successfully claimed by a new owner, the trainer of record at time of race must provide that horse’s complete corticosteroid and intra-articular injection record(s) for the last 30 days in paper or electronic form but in a format approved by the regulatory agency. The records must be provided to the new trainer within 48 hours of the transfer of the horse, and the trainer or his or her designee shall notify the regulatory veterinarian when the records have been provided. Submission may be delegated to the treating veterinarian, who shall provide the report to the new trainer within 48 hours of the transfer of the horse. Failure of the trainer to provide the 30-day record would result in disciplinary action.

  • A model rule stating a claim will be voided if that horse satisfies the regulatory authority’s definition of a claimed horse and dies or is euthanized, or is placed on the official veterinarians’ list prior to physical transfer to the claimant. The claimant can override the voiding of a claim for a vet’s list horse by so indicating on the official claim form at the time the claim is submitted.

A model rule governing trainers’ treatments records was discussed, but the RMTC board opted to solicit comments from stakeholders over the next 30 days and revisit the rule at a later date.

In other business, the RMTC provided an update on adoption of the National Uniform Medication Program, which has four components. The Controlled Therapeutic Medication Schedule has been adopted in 22 of the 34 Thoroughbred and Standardbred pari-mutuel states; third-party veterinarian administration of Lasix has been adopted in 20 jurisdictions; the Multiple Medication Violation Penalty System is in place in 15 states; and there remain only a few holdouts not using a RMTC-accredited drug-testing laboratory.

Benson said the University of Florida lab application has been reviewed and the process of accreditation is underway. With the addition of the Florida laboratory, RMTC-accredited laboratories and those in the process of accreditation are now responsible for the testing of samples for 31 jurisdictions.

National Thoroughbred Racing Association President Alex Waldrop, who chairs the RMTC, said Iowa, Louisiana, and South Dakota, as well as Delaware for harness racing only, still don’t use labs accredited by the RMTC. Delaware has separate racing commissions for Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing.

“Every laboratory across the United States must be RMTC-accredited so that the testing of horse racing samples can consistently and reliably detect a wide variety of substances at low concentrations,” Waldrop said.