By: Natalie Voss
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to accept model drug rules set by the Association for Racing Commissioners International. Dr. Mary Scollay, equine medical director for the commission, said the updates represented about a year’s work and more than 175 individual edits to bring the state’s rules in line with ARCI.
Scollay estimated less than 10 percent of those changes involved the addition of new substances to the rulebook. Most of the changes were edits in a drug’s classification (whether it’s placed in Classes 1-5). That classification system is intended to reflect the potential for performance manipulation, as well as how accepted the drug is for medical or therapeutic use in the horse. Drugs at the top of the scheme are associated with the harshest penalties and are placed there based in part on their classification with the Food and Drug Administration. The changes to Kentucky’s laws reflected both upgrades and downgrades of various drugs, based on new research into their impacts on the horse.
Scollay also presented the commission with an informational statement from the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council regarding the committee’s support of research into screening limits. The KEDRC statement urged the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and other state commissions to look into the development of screening limits to level the playing field between jurisdictions with different laboratories but similar rules on drug levels. The sensitivity of equipment varies between machines and between labs.
“The EDRC supports the development of harmonized laboratory screening limits for medications that may have legitimate use in the ethical treatment of a racehorse, but are currently regulated by laboratory limit of detection,” the statement read in part. “The harmonized screening limit is not a regulatory threshold, but rather the uniform calibration of instruments between laboratories.”