By: Tom LaMarra

The New Mexico racing and breeding industry recently held the first of what could become a regular series of meetings to address common issues, including equine medication and drug testing protocol.

The meeting was organized by New Mexico Horse Breeders president Ralph Vincent and moderated by Dr. Dionne Benson, executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. Vincent said the group will meet again in September and could end up holding quarterly meetings.

In the area of drug testing, it was determined “the entire process in New Mexico needs to be dismantled and rebuilt from scratch,” according to a release from the New Mexico Racing Commission. “The consensus was that changes must be made from A to Z, including the handling, shipping, and the storage of the samples.”

New Mexico statute mandates that samples must be shipped and stored at a local laboratory rather than standard practice of storing them in racetrack test barns. “All stakeholders agreed that changes are necessary to ensure the chain of custody stays intact and integrity is paramount in the process,” the release said.

Summit attendees also suggested the New Mexico racing schedule, which offers six meets at five tracks, must be streamlined to avoid overlaps in racing dates.