HIWU alters policy on provisional suspensions for banned substances abused by humans

By: Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit

Posted: Oct. 20, 2023

Following discussions with the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority Anti-Doping and Medication Control Committee, the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit will no longer impose provisional suspensions on covered persons upon the service of an equine anti-doping notice for an adverse analytical finding—a positive test result—for banned substances that are recognized as substances of abuse in humans.

Examples of banned substances that fall under this category include cocaine, methamphetamine, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

If a covered horse’s A sample tests positive for one of these banned substances, a provisional suspension will not be imposed on the relevant covered person until B sample analysis confirms the presence of the banned substance or B sample analysis has been waived by the covered person. Consequently, in compliance with Rule 3610(b), such cases will not be published on the HIWU website’s public disclosures page until after these steps occur.

This change to the public disclosure protocol is consistent with current procedures for presence violations—positive tests—for controlled medication substances.

This policy applies retroactively to current pending cases, and provisional suspensions have been lifted on all covered persons who have not been charged and are waiting for B sample results to be issued. This update is intended to address concerns within the industry that the names of covered persons were being publicly disclosed in cases involving the aforementioned types of substances before the covered persons had an opportunity to determine the source of the substance at issue, including whether it was the result of unintended human transfer.

In addition, as part of the ongoing process to update the HISA Anti-Doping and Medication Contro Program rules based on feedback from horsemen, HIWU conducted an internal review of the limit of detection in blood for Metformin, a banned substance, at its six accredited laboratories. Following the eview, which was conducted in collaboration with the laboratories, it was determined that not all applied the same limit of detection in analyzing samples for the presence of Metformin.

HIWU has since met with all six laboratories to establish an updated, uniform limit of detection.

“To preserve fairness in the adjudication of all reported adverse analytical findings—positive test results—HIWU has lifted the provisional suspensions and will be withdrawing the equine anti-doping charge letters from trainers Guadalupe Munoz Elizondo and Javier Morzan due to their covered horses testing positive for Metformin at levels in blood that would not have been reported as positive tests under the updated limit of detection.