November 15, 2012

Contact: Hallie Lewis (859) 224-2848


At its November 13 meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) board of directors addressed a number of important initiatives including therapeutic medications, laboratory proficiency, corticosteroid regulation and penalties for rule violations.

Among the board’s actions were approvals of thresholds and withdrawal guidelines for six medications that were presented with the recommendation of RMTC’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). These thresholds and withdrawal guidelines were approved for medications identified as having therapeutic purposes by the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and were based upon scientific research conducted by laboratories associated with the RMTC.

“We have eagerly anticipated the conclusion of these administration studies and applaud the work of the University of California-Davis Kenneth L. Maddy Laboratory in providing research on the majority of medications we addressed today,” said RMTC Chairman Dr. Robert Lewis. “This should help veterinarians and trainers avoid rule violations.”

The board approved recommendations on the following medications: acepromazine, butorphanol, clenbuterol, dantrolene, detomidine and mepivacaine.

“The recommendations will provide veterinarians, trainers and owners useful guidelines when developing therapeutic medication plans for horses in training,” said Dr. Rick Arthur, chair of the RMTC SAC and equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board.

“With the completion of these administration studies, the RMTC can now move forward with its imperative initiative to focus on the detection of prohibited drugs,” Arthur added.

• The RMTC board also heard important updates from its drug testing initiatives committee regarding laboratory accreditation. Dr. Dionne Benson, RMTC executive director and COO, reported that the committee is in the process of reviewing RMTC Laboratory Accreditation applications from three laboratories – The University of California-Davis Kenneth L. Maddy Laboratory, the Ohio Department of Agriculture Laboratory, and HFL Laboratory – Kentucky. Additionally, Benson noted that the RMTC Quality Assurance Program has begun for these laboratories.

“The goal of the RMTC accreditation process and Quality Assurance Program is to ensure that all laboratories are operating at the same high level of proficiency,” said Benson. “We hope to complete the accreditation process for these laboratories in early 2013, and we continue to encourage other laboratories to apply for accreditation.”

• The RMTC also announced that it will host a Corticosteroid Experts Conference on November 30, 2012, in Anaheim, California, which will be attended by researchers and veterinarians from across the country.

“Corticosteroids are an important issue in horse racing in the United States,” said Benson. “The RMTC arranged this meeting to bring together experts from all aspects of equine health and welfare with the goal of providing a comprehensive plan for regulating corticosteroid use in horse racing.”

• In other business, RCI President Ed Martin requested that the RMTC board support RCI’s effort to streamline medication rules. The RMTC board agreed to review the request and provide the RCI with a response prior to RCI’s next Model Rule Committee meeting. Additionally, the board formed a group to assist the RCI in developing a simplified and updated set of penalty guidelines.

• Additionally, RMTC board members reviewed the New York Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety Report and The Jockey Club Reformed Racing Medication Rules.

“The board was complimentary of the work done by both of these organizations,” said Lewis. “The reports are constructive steps toward moving the racing industry forward on the imperative issues of equine health and safety and the integrity of the sport.”

The RMTC consists of 25 racing industry stakeholders and organizations that represent Thoroughbred, Standardbred, American Quarter Horse and Arabian racing. The organization works to develop and promote uniform rules, policies and testing standards at the national level; coordinate research and educational programs that seek to ensure the integrity of racing and the health and welfare of racehorses and participants; and protect the interests of the racing public.

For additional information, visit the RMTC website at or contact Hallie Lewis, RMTC director of communications, at (859) 224-2848.