RMTC: First of three ‘tactical research studies’ published

Posted: Oct. 26, 2018

The first of three Racing Medication and Testing Consortium tactical research studies—detecting, identifying and inhibiting use of illicit substances—conducted over the last year was published Oct. 16, the organization said in a release.

The study, “L-and D-threo Ethylphenidate Concentrations, Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics in Horses,” was published in the October 2018 issue of Drug Testing Analysis and funded with significant assistance from the American Quarter Horse Association Foundation. It was performed by Dr. Heather Knych at the University of California-Davis K.L. Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory with the goal of preventing the use of the psychostimulant ethylphenidate in racehorses.

“I join the American Quarter Horse Association in thanking the RMTC for facilitating the recently-completed research involving detection of ethylphenidate in racehorses,” said Dr. Glenn Blodgett, AQHA Past President and RMTC board member. “This study came about because AQHA identified abuse of this drug and the RMTC was capable of conducting tactical research of the drug in a timely manner.”

Two other RMTC tactical research studies have recently received funding from The Jockey Club.

“Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator LGD-4033 in the Horse” was designed for the identification and detection of the SARM LGD-4033 in horse urine, blood and hair. SARMs are anabolic steroid-like substances that have no therapeutic use in the racing horse; they are generally administered to improve performance and affect the outcome of a race.

“Improved Detection of Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents” has focused on screening methodology for blood-doping in the horse. Currently, there is a very limited window of time for detecting the administration of EPO-stimulating agents. The project will allow more sensitive screening, with a goal of increasing the ability of laboratories to detect the substances tenfold.

“Substances that have no therapeutic use in Thoroughbred racehorses are a real and immediate threat to our sport,” said Jim Gagliano, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Jockey Club. “The Jockey Club is proud to support research funded by the RMTC’s Tactical Research Grant Program to help detect such substances.”

The RMTC Scientific Advisory Committee recently distributed a request for next research proposals to veterinary schools around the world. Areas of special interest for future studies include bisphosphonates in horses in racing and training; performance-enhancing or performance-modifying substances; and emerging substances with potential health, welfare and integrity hazards.

“These studies are critical to protecting the integrity of our sport and the welfare of our athletes,” said Dr. Dionne Benson, RMTC Executive Director and COO. “We thank the AQHA and The Jockey Club for their unyielding commitment to supporting research that helps protect our equine and human athletes and advance substance regulation in horse racing. Without the assistance of the RMTC’s donors, these important studies would not be possible. I encourage other industry groups and individuals to join in this important effort by contributing to the RMTC.”