Modifications to uniform medication penalty system approved by ARCI board

Posted: Dec. 9, 2016

Changes designed in part to facilitate state-by-state adoption of the Multiple Medication Violation Penalty System, one of the four components of the National Uniform Medication Program, were approved by the Association of Racing Commissioners International board of directors Dec. 9.

The rules take effect Jan. 1, 2017.

The MMV modifications were endorsed by the ARCI Model Rules Committee Dec. 8 and then sent to the full board, which met in Tucson, Ariz. Earlier they were approved by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium board of directors; The Jockey Club was the only one of 23 stakeholder groups that opposed the new structure.

The MMV system applies points to trainers’ records for positives based on the type and classification of each substance. Points are higher for non-controlled therapeutic substances.

Under the original system, 3-5.5 points resulted in a suspension of 30 days, 6-8.5 points 60 days, 9-10.5 points brought a 180-day suspension, and 11 or more points 360 days. The revised model rule employs ranges for suspensions to accommodate concerns by various states that the original system could face legal challenges.

The rule approved by ARCI calls for a 15- to 30-day suspension for 5-5.5 points, 30-60 days for 6-8.5 points, 90-180 days for 9-10.5 points, and 180-360 days for 11 or more points.

As for awarding points by penalty class, only points for Class C and Class D substances were altered. The following remain the same: a positive for a Class A substance adds 6 points to a trainer’s record; as for Class B substances, a positive adds 2 points for a controlled therapeutic substance and 4 for a non-controlled therapeutic substance.

Under the Class C category, 1 point for a controlled therapeutic substance will become one-half of a point with half-points added for each violation within a 365-day period. For a non-controlled therapeutic substance, a positive adds 1 point with half-points added for each additional violation within 365 days.

No points will be accrued for positives for Class D substances be they controlled or non-controlled.

The original system set Class C at 1 point and 2 points, respectively, and Class D at a half-point and 1 point, respectively.

The MMV system lists the number of years it takes for points to be expunged from a trainer’s record. Points accrued for a Class A offense will go from being permanent on a record to 3 years for being expunged, Class B from 3 years to 2 years, Class C from 2 years to 1 year, and Class D from 1 year to zero.

Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Chairman Alan Foreman, who serves as RMTC Vice Chairman, said the new structure doesn’t diminish the MMV system and at the same time should encourage jurisdictions to adopt it. The penalty aspect of NUMP has been the slowest to be adopted by racing states.

Foreman also said the racing industry needs to stop blurring the lines between “doping” offenses and violations or overages for legal therapeutic medications. Another NUMP component is the Controlled Therapeutic Medication Schedule, which lists withdrawal times and testing threshold levels for 30 substances as guidance for horsemen.

The Jockey Club, before the ARCI Model Rules Committee meeting, had asked the RMTC to back away from the proposed changes on the grounds they would weaken the MMV system and counteract the intent of reducing the frequency of medication violations.

The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association publicly endorsed the changes and noted the importance of all stakeholders working together to further adoption of NUMP.

“By revising this rule, we not only focus the system on those who consistently violate the medication and anti-doping rules that most affect the sport, but we address a legal issue that has precluded more widespread official adoption,” ARCI President Ed Martin said.

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