By: Tom LaMarra
Some proposed changes and updates to Thoroughbred racing rules in West Virginia will have to wait almost another year because of an indirect veto by the governor.
The Thoroughbred industry in the state each year compiles a wish list of regulatory changes, some of which are tied to updates in the National Uniform Medication Program, such as modifications in drug-testing thresholds and the addition of new therapeutic substances.
In recent years the proposed rules have met with no opposition, and in 2016 sailed through the West Virginia Racing Commission and legislature. They were, as is standard practice, grouped together with proposed regulatory changes from other agencies into one bill—but the package was vetoed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for reasons unrelated to horse racing.
Kelli Talbott, senior deputy attorney general who serves as legal counsel for WVRC, said the rules that would have taken effect this spring will be included with new proposals in a 2017 request that already has been sent to the Secretary of Revenue for review before a 30-day public comment period begins.
Talbott said one of the regulations that would have taken effect this year but must now wait is the model rule for cobalt. The Association of Racing Commissioners International and Racing Medication and Testing Consortium have adopted limits and penalties associated with the mineral, which occurs naturally in racehorses but can have debilitating affects if administered in high doses.