ARCI hopes compliance panel facilitates model rule adoption

Posted: Dec. 13, 2016

The Association of Racing Commissioners International has created an integrity compliance program designed to encourage adoption of model rules, including those that make up the National Uniform Medication Program.

Under a proposal approved by the ARCI board of directors at its Dec. 9 meeting in Arizona, an independent three-member panel of former regulators no longer associated with a particular racing commission will review jurisdictions and determine if they are substantially compliant, compliant, or non-compliant with “select integrity standards embodied in the model rules.”

A release further noted that the initial standards will center on NUMP, which has four major components: the Controlled Therapeutic Medication Schedule; third-party administration of race-day furosemide (Lasix); the Multiple Medication Violation Penalty System, which was modified by the ARCI board at its Arizona meeting in part to facilitate its adoption; and laboratory accreditation through the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.

The ARCI said it will certify compliance with the integrity standards each year and expand the standards based on recommendations from the three-member compliance panel.

“This a logical extension of ARCI’s role as a regulatory standard-maker for racing and will signal to the public, racetracks, horsemen, and other commissions if races are being conducted consistent with those standards,” ARCI Chair Judy Wagner of Louisiana said.

ARCI President Ed Martin said the concept of a compliance certification program was part of a recent industry survey and discussion with focus groups and received support from 57% of participants. Martin also said the program received “general support” from major Thoroughbred industry stakeholder organizations.

Martin acknowledged there have been discussions among some horsemen’s groups and major racing companies to facilitate adoption of uniform medication rules by withholding simulcast signals from jurisdictions that don’t fully adopt NUMP or other integrity standards. He didn’t oppose such action but said it’s in the hands of individual states.

“Existing state laws allow (racing) commissions to approve the import of signals and federal law grants similar authority to the horsemen,” Martin said. “What people do with the information generated by the Compliance Program is up to them. ARCI will have no role in that unless otherwise empowered by statute.”

Horsemen and racing associations have rights to consent under the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978, which was amended in 2000 to permit Internet betting on horse races across state lines.

The ARCI board of directors also voted in Arizona to create a “performance audit” of penalties assessed by individual stewards’ stands for general consistency with the recommended penalty matrix contained model rules. The information will be presented to state racing regulatory agencies “in a confidential manner as it will be considered as part of an employee’s personnel review and may become part of someone’s private personnel file,” ARCI said.

(Photo by Tom LaMarra)