RMTC urges adoption of updated model rules on medication

Posted: Dec. 22, 2016

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium Dec. 22 urged racing authorities to adopt the out-of-competition testing and Multiple Medication Violation Penalty System rules approved by the Association of Racing Commissioners International Dec. 9.

The out-of-competition testing rules adopted by the ARCI are largely based upon rules developed and proposed by the RMTC. Importantly, the new regulations go beyond blood-doping to regulate a number of other substances.

The use of anabolic steroids in training is banned. The only time that any of the four permitted anabolic steroids can be administered is if they are:

  • Prescribed by a veterinarian—which requires the filing of a treatment plan prior to administration, and the horse is placed on the state veterinarian’s list for a minimum of six months after the final administration;
  • Strict reporting requirements for other substances, such as clenbuterol, that act as anabolic agents; and
  • A broadly expanded prohibited substance list based upon the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited Substance list.

“The out-of-competition testing rule is vital for ensuring the integrity of racing and the health and welfare of our equine athletes,” RMTC Executive Director Dr. Dionne Benson said. “There are a number of substances that can only be found for a limited time. Expanding out-of-competition testing will allow racing authorities to test for those substances and ultimately deter their use.”

The MMV Penalty System was designed to be an enhanced penalty system applied above and beyond the penalty for a single medication violation for trainers who commit multiple medication-related infractions. The RMTC worked with a diverse group of regulators, regulatory attorneys, industry stakeholders and others in revising the existing system to address issues that had arisen and concerns expressed by many states where legal concerns hampered adoption.

Highlights of the revision include:

  • Increased discretion for stewards in determining the length of a suspension; and
  • An increasing penalty for therapeutic medication violations occurring within the same year, which allows for penalties to exceed those originally set forth in the MMV Penalty System for those trainers who have multiple violations for therapeutic Class C penalty violations.

Industry organizations and states that have been slow to support the National Uniform Medication Program have indicated these revisions remove a significant obstacle to full adoption.

“The RMTC stands ready to assist racing authorities in the adoption of these regulations,” said RMTC Chairman Alex Waldrop, President of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. “Adoption of these programs along with the National Uniform Medication Program in its entirety will be chief among the RMTC’s objectives for 2017.”

The RMTC consists of 23 racing industry stakeholders and organizations that represent Thoroughbred, Standardbred, American Quarter Horse and Arabian racing. The organization works to develop and promote uniform rules, policies and testing standards at the national level; coordinate research and educational programs that seek to ensure the integrity of racing and the health and welfare of racehorses and participants; and protect the interests of the racing public.

(Photo by Jim McCue/MJC)