RCI Adjusts MMV Points, Expands Out-of-Competition Testing: The Horse 12/16/16

By: Edited Press Release

The upcoming version of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) Model Rules for Racing will contain important modifications that will adjust MMV (multiple medication violation) points so minor and isolated infractions are not treated on par with more serious violations in determining extra penalties.

The modifications were requested by an almost unanimous vote of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC).

“The MMV system is working, perhaps too well for some,” said ARCI President Ed Martin. ARCI regulators working with RMTC industry members developed the system which was implemented on Jan. 1, 2014 after controversial debate the previous summer. The system is modeled after the approach taken in U.S. federal sentencing guidelines.

Under revisions, points will remain the same for the more severe violations of the medication and anti-doping rules, substances warranting a Class A or B penalty, Points are reduced for substances warranting for a Class C penalty and are eliminated for medications qualifying for a Class D penalty warning.

Depending on the number of points amassed by a repeat offender, the enhanced penalty would be in the form of additional suspension (from 15 to 360 days) which would be added to the underlying penalty.

Under the revised system stewards will have a certain amount of discretion in determining the extra suspension days to be imposed as a result of multiple medication violations. The lack of steward discretion in assessing an enhanced penalty has been cited by some regulatory attorneys as the reason why the Model Rule was not suitable for full adoption in their jurisdiction.

“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,” Martin said.

Out-of-Competition Testing Rule

The ARCI also modified its existing out-of-competition testing rule. Last July the ARCI deferred action on a revision submitted by the RMTC based on a need to strengthen certain aspects of that proposal that would have created a “safe harbor” for those wishing to shield horses from testing.

While using the RMTC version as a basis, the new version eliminates the proposed one hour advance notice requirement, the ability of the trainer to delay sampling for 24 hours, and the prohibition on collecting samples from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The rule now includes language permitting out-of-competition testing “at a reasonable time,” language commonly used by administrative agencies conducting warrantless searches. This modification strengthens the legal sustainability of the rule while avoiding the creation of “safe harbors”.

The ARCI also adopted a prohibited list to further underscore and clarify many restrictions already contained in the Model Rules and its Uniform Classification Document.

Further, a therapeutic use restriction was created for some legal medications. Depending on the substance, restrictions could apply beyond documentation in the vet records and formal prescription. In some cases disclosure to or written permission from the commission could be necessary. Certain anabolic androgenic steroids—such as boldenone, nandrolone, or stanozolol—will require pre-filing of a treatment plan. Depending on the substance used by the veterinarian, some horses could be excluded from competition and placed on the veterinarian’s list for 60 or 180 days.

The new rule requires no drug be administered to a racehorse except in the context of a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship between an attending veterinarian, the horse owner (who may be represented by the trainer or other agent), and the horse. No drug may be administered without a veterinarian having examined the horse and provided the treatment recommendation.

The rule also requires that veterinary judgments be independent and not dictated by the trainer or owner of the horse.

“It would be in everyone’s interest if those desiring an expansion of out of competition testing work with individual commissions to ensure that they have the necessary resources to do that,” Martin said. “That may mean that some organizations may need to refocus their governmental advocacy to specific states as the 2017 budget process unfolds in those states.”

The complete language of these modified Model Rules will be published prior to Jan. 1, 2017 in Version 7.0 of the ARCI Model Rules of Racing.

The new MMV point modifications will be effective Jan. 1, 2017.