The funding of scientifically-valid research projects is a cornerstone of RMTC’s mission. Targeted research directed toward developing analytical methods for the detection of prohibited substances or toward developing scientifically-defensible withdrawal times and/or thresholds for therapeutic substances is given highest priority, along with broader methodological research.
The RMTC moved away from the RFP process in 2005 and focused on administration studies for medications of therapeutic value to the horse. Twenty-horse administrations were performed at the University of Florida Racing Laboratory on fit, treadmill-trained Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses in order to develop reliable, statistically-valid withdrawal times and relevant regulatory concentrations. Over $700,000 was spent on the project, which was the largest of its kind ever conducted in horse racing in any country.
Overall, RMTC has funded over $2 million in drug testing research.
The RMTC’s main research focus has now shifted from therapeutic medications to drugs that pose an immediate threat to the integrity of racing. RMTC subsidizes the analysis of unknown substances (vials, bottles, syringes, etc.) for racing commissions on an ad hoc basis to determine whether the substances contain doping agents that could produce a pharmacologic effect on raceday. In addition, the RMTC supports detection studies on “unknown” and prohibited substances.
RMTC’s Tactical Research Program works diligently to identify new substances of interest, coordinate with investigators to ensure inappropriate substances are removed from the race track setting, and to help provide information in prosecutions. The goal of this program is to ensure integrity in the sport as well as protect the safety and welfare of the equine and human participants by quickly responding to potential threats.