The History of RMTC
The year 2001 saw several key events that laid the groundwork for the development of a national organization committed to tackling issues relating to the medication and post-race testing of racehorses. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Task Force on Racing Integrity and Drug Testing released the initial results of its Supertest project at The Jockey Club Roundtable meeting in August. The report was a culmination of three years of research into the state of post-race testing in the United States, including results from over 1,000 cleared split samples that were put through an additional rigorous battery of tests. The report served to highlight some of the challenges the industry faced in order to improve the post-race detection of prohibited substances.
On December 4, the American Association of Equine Practitioners hosted the Racehorse Medication Summit at the Annual Symposium on Racing in Tucson, Ariz. The Summit brought together individuals representing a broad spectrum of organizations across the racing breeds for a facilitated closed-door meeting to determine potential consensus points on the most basic elements of a uniform national medication policy for racehorses. Those involved that day vowed to continue the effort beyond Tucson, leading to the formation of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.
1998-2013 Medication and Drug Testing Developments Timeline
commonly used short-acting corticosteroid that can be administered
intravenously, intramuscularly and orally. Other short-acting corticosteroids will have similar restrictions. The recommendations are expected to fundamentally change the use of corticosteroids and veterinary practice in racing. The corticosteroid administration recommendations are forwarded to the Association of Racing Commissioners International for review.
The RMTC Board approves a limited list of therapeutic medications that are allowed to be present in a horse on race day. This therapeutic medication list is based upon recommendations from the American Association of Equine Practitioners. By permitting these 24 medications, RMTC has recommended that the presence of any other medications is prohibited in post-race sampling.
On November 30, RMTC hosts a Corticosteroid Experts Conference in Anaheim, Calif., bringing together qualified individuals with professional expertise in key areas with the goal of providing a comprehensive plan for regulating corticosteroid use in horse racing to protect equine health and welfare. Participants include analytical chemists, veterinary pharmacologists, veterinary surgeons, racing regulatory veterinarians, and practicing racetrack veterinarians.
RMTC directors also act upon a recommendation of the Scientific Advisory Committee, approving a threshold level of 20 nanograms/mL in plasma or serum for the NSAID medication firocoxib (Equioxx®). A corresponding 14-day withdrawal period prior to racing is recommended.
overhaul; and education, communication and advocacy.
RMTC directors also approve funding for development of an analytical test for ITPP. RMTC Vice Chairman Alan Foreman reports to the board that the RMTC Penalty Guidelines Committee continues to pursue a simplified classification system of drug categories and penalty guidelines and is working toward its goal of producing a list of appropriate testing threshold levels and corresponding recommended withdrawal times for the various therapeutic medications.
administered on race day by regulatory veterinarians and that adjunct bleeder medications are eliminated. The RMTC board also votes to support enhanced security measurements and a more severe penalty structure for medication violations.
Directors establish a June 1, 2012 deadline for racing commissions to revise the phenylbutazone threshold from 5 mcg/mL to 2 mcg/mL, and vote to establish uniform penalty guidelines across racing jurisdictions. Board members also vote to change the current 365-day period for Category B prohibited drugs to “within two years in any jurisdiction” for a second violation and “within a five-year period in any jurisdiction” for a third violation, develop a list of laboratory
detection levels at which all positive tests in US racing will be called, and develop a list of approved therapeutic medications with appropriate corresponding withdrawal time guidelines.
were ISO 17025 accredited. As a result of the addition of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, 7 of 19 laboratories are now ISO 17025 accredited, and by the end of 2011, RMTC expects 12 of 19 laboratories to be ISO accredited. In addition, seven laboratories have returned signed letters of intent to go through the RMTC accreditation program.
in horses, while Dr. Robinson will research the detection of extracorporeal shock wave therapy usage in the racehorse using biomarkers. This commitment begins the process of developing the next generation of scientific experts in the equine industry who will be working with the industry on emerging medication issues.
The RMTC debuts a Recent Rulings Database on rmtc.wpengine.com, which is the only database in existence that allows viewers to see not only the infractions but also a description of the possible uses and effects of the drug in the horse. This will begin the process of better clarifying the difference between medication management mistakes and more serious drug violations.
As the organization awaits the initiation of the Equine Quality Assurance Program, the Testing Integrity Program and the Interstate Drug Testing Alliance continue their single- and double-masked sample programs with RMTC funding. Under the CHRB’s testing program, The Jockey Club-funded frozen sample and retrospective testing program has tested 2,000 samples that have been frozen over
the past two years for growth hormone.
Dr. Larry Soma presents an extensive report on the administration of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS), concluding that residual effects of the NSAID medication phenylbutazone remain at 24 hours. The RMTC Scientific Advisory Committee is directed to assess the data and make a recommendation regarding NSAID concentrations in the horses’ blood at the time of pre-race examinations.
The RMTC also forms a Communications Subcommittee, which will make recommendations for a media campaign to better explain the significant efforts of the drug testing laboratories in detecting prohibited drugs, and differentiate those findings from the more prevalent positive test reports for overages of approved therapeutic medication that are primarily mistakes in administration times and
In addition, the board approves the three-year funding of a graduate/post-doctoral research fellowship and a frozen samples retrospective testing program funded by The Jockey Club. This program will enable the long-term storage of samples for future testing.
achieve international harmonization of drug testing rules and regulations. RMTC officials receive constructive recommendations regarding the development and certification of accredited laboratories. Participants agree to stay in close contact and cooperate on a number of drug detection studies underway for therapeutic
medications in the U.S., Europe, Africa and Australia, to maximize scare resources.
RMTC continues research on threshold levels and withdrawal times for several therapeutic medications. The board commits up to $62,000 in 2009 to fund the
quality assurance programs provided by the Testing Integrity Program (TIP).
infrastructure including industry-sponsored research and reference equine drug testing laboratories; establishment of a post-doctoral and grad student recruitment program for drug testing research and laboratory staff development; and review of current sample collection strategies including long-term storage of frozen samples.
On the anabolic steroids front, 16 pari-mutuel racing states have now adopted the RMTC-recommended model rule on anabolic states with 16 more states in the adoption process, representing more than 90% of the pari-mutuel handle. The RMTC commits more than $300,000 to support comprehensive research over the next two years on corticosteroids – allowing the development of model rules, best
practices and proper procedures related to the administration of these medications.
androgenic anabolic steroids and are given copies of standard operating procedures as well as the latest scientific information for detecting and identifying these medications in horses.
commissions on the implementation of a ban on androgenic anabolic steroids.
The RMTC board approves a proposed draft of an out-of-competition testing rule that will be forwarded to the RCI Model Rules Committee. Work is underway on a pilot project on the medications acepromazine, lidocaine, mepivacaine, pyrilamine, glycopyrrolate, butorphanol, methocarbamol and detomidine, in order to establish necessary protocols for research to develop scientific withdrawal
The RMTC Model Rules are now adopted or in the process of being adopted in 30 of 38 pari-mutuel horse racing states. A motion is approved that the RMTC will work with the RCI Model Rules Committee to develop a model rule on out-ofcompetition drug testing.
The board also approves a plan to expedite the necessary research to establish guidelines for withdrawal times for therapeutic medications commonly used by race track veterinarians. 30 pari-mutuel horse racing states have adopted or are in the process of adopting the RMTC Model Medication Policy.
regulatory agencies prior to the RCI/NAPRA Joint Convention.
The RMTC board meets in Los Angeles, California. Directors unanimously approve changes of the policy document and approve funding for scientific research projects involving procaine, EPO, clenbuterol and morphine. The board also approved hosting a regulatory workshop to be held in December 2003 in order to brief state regulators on the policy document.
Cornell University and Testing Components Corp. develops an ELISA test that detects when trainers use recombinant human EPO in horses.
Final report of the Supertest project is released. A total of 22 confirmations of RCI Class 1, 2 or 3 drugs in 1,596 samples are found (1.4%).
Second meeting of the AAEP Medication Summit stakeholder groups is held to continue work on model medication policy. Meetings are now being facilitated by the NTRA Drug Testing Task Force.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners hosts the Equine Medication Summit in Tucson at the RTIP Annual Symposium on Racing. This closed-door, professionally facilitated meeting brings together individuals representing 21 industry stakeholder groups to discuss the most basic elements of a national uniform medication policy.
announced at The Jockey Club Roundtable Conference. Task Force funding of more than $800,000 is contributed by industry stakeholders.