The Jockey Club in the US has released an updated version of its medication rules with stronger penalties for repeat violations.
Fines, disqualifications and even lifetime suspensions would be possible for those persistently operating outside regulatory limits.
The Jockey Club’s Reformed Racing Medication Rules was released on Friday, and as well as dramatically remodeled penalties, it also features a new categorization of medications and more clearly defined regulatory limits. 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 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.”
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.”