During its meeting on Tuesday, June 27, at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, the Board of Directors of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) finalized a two-part plan to establish model policies for withdrawal times for therapeutic medications in racehorses.

In part one, the RMTC will compile existing withdrawal guidelines for 50 therapeutic medications identified by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) by surveying state racing commissions and utilizing veterinary expertise in each state.

“We will continue our survey of current withdrawal times in each state with the goal of producing guidelines that can be published and placed on the RMTC website so horsemen will have a better idea of therapeutics allowed in individual jurisdictions,” said RMTC Chairman Dan Fick.

In part two of the plan, the RMTC will prepare a request for proposals on therapeutic medications that need additional research to better define their withdrawal times. The research process will be fast-tracked in order to obtain, as quickly as possible, the additional data needed.

The RMTC consists of 23 racing industry stakeholders and organizations that represent Thoroughbred, Standardbred and American Quarter Horse racing. The organization works to develop, promote and coordinate, at the national level, policies, research, and educational programs that seek to ensure the fairness and integrity of racing, the health and welfare of racehorses and participants, and protect the interests of the betting public.

To date, the Model Rule that covers aspects of medication and testing, including race-day medications, penalties, testing and prohibited practices, has been adopted or is in the process of being adopted in 30 of 38 pari-mutuel horse racing jurisdictions.

The use of anabolic steroids in racehorses and in sales horses currently is a significant issue in the industry. At the RMTC Board meeting, RMTC Secretary Dr. Rick Arthur presented a report on the subject from the group’s Subcommittee on Anabolic Steroids. Following a complete review of existing research and of rules from international racing jurisdictions, the subcommittee plans to deliver its preliminary recommendations for a Model Policy on anabolic steroids at the next RMTC Board meeting in November.

At the June 26 meeting, the RMTC Board also:

  • Approved a motion that the RMTC work with the Association of Racing Commissioners International Model Rules Committee to develop a proposed Model Rule on out-of-competition drug testing. Currently, commissions in several jurisdictions are able to perform random drug tests of horses at any time to detect the use of performance-enhancing medications, especially blood-doping agents like erythropoietin (EPO).
  • Approved working with the AAEP to hold a one-day workshop for racing regulatory veterinarians that would precede the AAEP Annual Convention on December 2-6 in San Antonio, Texas.
  • Heard a report from RMTC Executive Director Dr. Scot Waterman on the current status of RMTC-funded research projects.
  • Heard a report on the Big Event Team (BET) from Frank Fabian, president of the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau (TRPB). The TRPB coordinates BET, which the RMTC funds, to supplement existing racetrack security at major racing events for Thoroughbred, Standardbred and American Quarter Horse racing. Recent races on the Big Event Team schedule were the Queen’s Plate Stakes at Woodbine on June 25 and the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 17.
  • Received an unqualified opinion from RMTC auditors Dean, Dorton & Ford of Lexington that the organization’s finances were being handled according to recommended accounting procedures.

The next RMTC Board meeting is tentatively scheduled to be held in Louisville, Ky., on November 2, two days before the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs.

In other RMTC news:

  • In July, the RMTC administrative staff will relocate to The Jockey Club complex in Lexington, Ky. RMTC currently occupies office space at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association headquarters in Lexington.
  • The RMTC will launch its new website in early July. Users will be able to download the Model Rules on medication and read a variety of new information about current medication policies and practices.

For additional information, visit the RMTC website at www.rmtc.kinsta.com or contact:

  • Dr. Scot Waterman, Executive Director, RMTC: (859) 422-2675
  • Dan Fick, Chairman, RMTC: (859) 224-2708