By: BloodHorse Staff
When the Association of Racing Commissioners International adopts a model rule for Thoroughbred racing, it encourages each of its state regulator members to put the rule in place but has largely few options if states do not adopt a model rule.
That could change, though, fueled by ratings that would be determined by a planned independent panel that would examine how state commissions are doing relative to model rules. The push would not come directly from RCI but rather model rule-compliant states that could choose to block simulcast signals from states the panel determines are lagging behind in model rule adoption.
On Dec. 9 the RCI board of directors voted to create the regulatory compliance program, which would establish minimum integrity standards based on RCI model rules. Under the program, an independent three-person panel of former regulators no longer associated with any particular commission will determine whether jurisdictions are “compliant,” “substantially compliant” or “non-compliant” with select integrity standards embodied in the model rules.
The initial standards will be based on adoption of the four model rules of the National Uniform Medication Program that calls for third-party Lasix administration, accredited labs, a list of controlled therapeutic substances, and the multiple medication violation system.
“This is a logical extension of RCI’s role as a regulatory standard maker for racing and will signal to the public, racetracks, horsemen, and other commissions if races are being conducted consistent with those standards,” said RCI chairwoman Judy Wagner in a release.
RCI president Ed Martin said that some in the Thoroughbred industry have an interest in limiting the import of simulcast signals from markets rated as non-compliant.
“Existing state laws allow commissions to approve the import of signals and federal law grants similar authority to the horsemen,” Martin said in a release. “What people do with the information generated by the compliance program is up to them. RCI will have no role in that unless otherwise empowered by statute.”
RCI will certify compliance with those standards on an annual basis and the standards may be expanded upon recommendation of the compliance panel. RCI said the concept of a compliance certification program received considerable support, 57%, in the RCI’s 2016 Stakeholder Input Project.
On Dec. 9 the RCI board also voted to create a performance audit of penalties assessed by individual steward stands for general consistency with the recommended penalty matrix contained in the model rules.
This information will be presented to racing commissions in a confidential manner as it will be considered as part of an employee’s personnel review and may become part of someone’s private personnel file. In those cases where an official is not an employee of the commission, the commission may use it as a factor in determining suitability for approval as a racing official.
“The RCI Board recognizes that facts in individual cases may necessitate a departure from the recommended guidelines,” Martin said. “These audits are designed to alert employers if there is a pattern on the part of individual steward stands to ignore the recommended guidelines. Again, we will present this information and it will be totally up to the individual commissions how to utilize it.”