Day 1 Recap: Regulatory Vet Continuing Education

A cooperative spirit permeated Day 1 of the inaugural Regulatory/Official Veterinary Continuing Education conference (#RegVetCE) as a capacity group of 61 attendees – representing more than 100 racetracks worldwide – gathered at Keeneland to trade ideas and emphasize the importance of formal information sharing between jurisdictions.

The two-day continuing education conference for regulatory and official racetrack veterinarians, presented by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Safety & Integrity Alliance and the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium (RMTC), focused its early sessions on pre-race examinations, including the importance of documentation. The afternoon was highlighted by hands-on field demonstrations using active racehorses stabled at Keeneland.

Dr. Mary Scollay, longtime KHRC equine medical director, kicked off the program with a stage-setting presentation, “What Do Regulatory Veterinarians Need to Know?” A former track vet who was one of the architects of The Jockey Club’s Equine Injury Database (EID), Scollay urged practitioners to be mindful of their core values while dealing with daily demands.

A similar message was imparted by event co-organizer Dr. Dionne Benson, executive director and COO of the RMTC, who asked vets to consider who they ultimately are accountable to.

“We are the only ones that advocate strictly for the horse, without having to answer to a trainer or an owner,” said Benson, who presented on “Pre-Race Examinations Across North American Jurisdictions.”

The various regulations and processes for raceday exams were further explored in a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Larry Bramlage of Rood and Riddle and featuring Scollay, Dr. Tim Grande of the California Horse Racing Board, Dr. Michael Hardy of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission, and Dr. Scott Hay of the Florida-based practice Teigland, Franklin & Brokken. The three regulatory vets detailed what they look for when inspecting a horse entered to run and described unusual scenarios that could result in a vet scratch.

In a subsequent panel on “Implementing InCompass in the Field,” Hardy reinforced that information observed in those pre-race inspections is most useful when it’s available for reference across jurisdictions and for future exams. The Indiana commission and track vet demonstrated how he uses The Jockey Club’s InCompass RTO system to determine whether an issue he notes is new or pre-existing, which can indicate how concerning it might be.

Following lunch, the 61 attendees (51 paid registrants + 10 partner registrants) visited Keeneland’s Rice Road barns for simulated pre-race inspections on racehorses currently in training. Afterwards, the vets met in breakout groups to recount their observations, as well as input the information into InCompass for future reference in any jurisdiction.

Dr. Benson of the RMTC returned to the podium late in the day for a presentation on “Medication Regulation at the Racetrack,” explaining the science behind withdrawal times and thresholds for permissible medications.

Steve Koch, executive director of the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance and event co-organizer, closed out the program with “New Model Rules Affecting the Regulatory Veterinarian,” a review of relevant regulations recently adopted by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI). Many states have a variety of rules in place that automatically defer to the model rules, thereby keeping current with industry guidance without requiring action on the state level. Regulatory vets are required to keep up to date on the model rules that apply to their jurisdiction.

Monday evening, attendees were scheduled to visit Funny Cide, Point Given, and Go For Gin at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions, followed by dinner at the International Museum of the Horse with a talk by renowned racing historian Ed Bowen.

#RegVetCE continues Tuesday with another full day of presentations and discussion. For more information, including the full agenda, visit https://www.ntra.com/reg-vet-ce.

The Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE) program of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) has approved #RegVet CE to offer 18.5 veterinarian continuing education credits.

Regulatory/Official Veterinary CE is made possible through the generous support of The Stronach Group, Keeneland, and New York Racing Association. Additional support has been provided by the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, LGC ScienceNew York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s AssociationNTRA AdvantageOak Tree Racing AssociationRMTCThe Jockey ClubThoroughbred Horsemen’s AssociationTruesdail Laboratories, and University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs.