Received via press release today: note that these are The Jockey Club's recommendations to all the individual racing jurisdictions. These rules may or may not be adopted by the governing bodies of racing in different states. You can also download the full Reformed Racing Medication Rulesdocument in pdf form.
The Jockey Club today released an updated version of the Reformed Racing Medication Rules that features a new categorization of medications, more clearly defined regulatory limits and dramatically remodeled penalties. The organization is encouraging all Thoroughbred racing jurisdictions to implement them in order to improve the integrity of the sport and enhance the safety of its athletes.
The Reformed Racing Medication Rules were introduced at The Jockey Club's Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing in August 2011 after consultation and collaboration with representatives of the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium, the Association of Racing Commissioners International and the International Federations of Horseracing Authorities.
"We have been refining this document since then and the result is a dramatically streamlined set of regulations that is on par with international standards," said James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club. "It creates a new enforcement scheme with far stiffer penalties and deterrents for repeat offenders. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with industry organizations and national, state and local regulatory agencies to see these rules adopted."
The new rules feature a cumulative penalty system featuring stronger penalties for repeat violations. Fines, disqualifications and even lifetime suspensions would be possible for those persistently operating outside regulatory limits.
Among the main tenets of the Reformed Racing Medication Rules:
- Horses should be allowed to compete only when free from the influences of medication
- Medications permitted in the race horse are subjected to stricter regulatory thresholds with increased recommended withdrawal times.
- Furosemide is currently prohibited although this may be effected through a transitional process
- Only RMTC-accredited laboratories are permitted to test samples, with results available to the public
- Medication violations result in points that accumulate to trigger stronger sanctions for repeat violations; up to lifetime suspensions
- Medication histories for all horses available for review
- Contact with a horse within 24 hours of post time of the race shall be subject to surveillance; certain regulations and track ship-in policies may be subject to adjustment
- Reciprocal enforcement of uniform mandatory rest periods among racing regulatory authorities for horses with symptoms of exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage
- Expansion of regulatory authority to include all jurisdictions where official "workouts" are conducted
- Administration and withdrawal guidelines are published for all approved therapeutic medication subject to regulatory control
- Best practices for improved security and monitoring of "in today" horses are provided for guidance to racing associations
"As we have said many times before, The Jockey Club believes that the overuse of medication endangers our human and equine athletes, threatens the integrity of our sport and erodes consumer confidence in our game," Gagliano said. "Horses should compete only when they are free from the influence of medication, and these reformed rules represent a giant step toward achieving that goal."
Craig Fravel, president and chief executive officer of Breeders' Cup Limited, said, "Safety and integrity are values that are paramount to the viability of Thoroughbred racing. We must dedicate our efforts to adopting uniform national rules that ensure a level playing field and that ensure those who do not wish to abide by those rules can no longer compete against those who do."
Dan Metzger, the president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, said, "The Reformed Racing Medication Rules provide a reasonable and common sense approach to achieve uniformity and impose severe penalties on those who repeatedly violate rules. Adoption of these revised rules will provide our industry with necessary, responsible and positive reform."
The Jockey Club, founded in 1894 and dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing, is the breed registry for North American Thoroughbreds. In fulfillment of its mission, The Jockey Club provides support and leadership on a wide range of important industry initiatives and it serves the information and technology needs of owners, breeders, media, fans and farms, among others. Additional information is available at jockeyclub.com.