DEL MAR, CA - North American racing regulators are meeting in Del Mar, California this week to consider various issues, including a proposal by RCI President Ed Martin to expand the jurisdiction of racing commissions over horses in training to better identify those being treated with medications for a condition or injury that might require exclusion from competition or training.
Under the proposal, racing commissions which currently license people working in racing would expand their authority to include horses, effectively extending jurisdiction over equines in training.
At the Grayson Jockey Club Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit earlier this month, a common theme was the necessity to have a better way to identify those horses that may be at risk as well as to ensure that the information is not only received but clearly understood by the trainer and ownership interests.
The United States Congress and the Food and Drug Administration have authorized almost every approved drug on the market for direct or indirect use in a horse based upon the professional judgment of a veterinarian. With the veterinary regulatory policy of twenty-one states requiring the issuance of a written prescription upon client request in lieu of direct veterinary administration, legitimate questions exist as to whether drugs are being used beyond their intended purpose.
Unlike the Olympics and other sports that permit athletes to compete with a Therapeutic Use Exemption when medicated, horse racing has taken a tougher approach by saying if a horse needs a medication that can affect performance, it should not race.
In a memo to the RCI Board of Directors, Martin wrote, "The purpose of this effort is not to assess the propriety of veterinary treatment or cite licensees for medication rule violations, but to foster a dialogue between all interested parties - owners, trainers, veterinarians, and regulators - about the health of the horse in making a determination as to whether a horse is plagued with a condition that might require placement on the Veterinarians List to be excluded from competition."
Just as motor vehicle regulations require the registration (licensure) of automobiles and state safety inspections, horse owners or the ownership entity would be required to obtain a license for their horse and authorize the regulator access to the horse and the ability to perform a veterinary treatment audit or out-of-competition testing as appropriate.
In his concept memo, Martin wrote:
"Upon initial registration issued by the appropriate breed registry, notification would be required and appropriate information would be forwarded to the regulator or designee.
Horse licensure is best handled centrally and not on a state-by-state basis. The existing National Racing Compact is the logical entity, but RCI could serve as a regulatory designee. In any event the regulatory entity or designee would need to work closely with the breed registries in developing a plan for implementation.
Just as with an automobile, changes in ownership would have to be officially filed with the regulatory entity or its designee and appropriate documents generated."
"This would obviously need a tremendous amount of work and industry dialogue," Martin said, noting that this concept has not yet been addressed by any national racing organization or any group advocating for legislative intervention. "We have a collective moral responsibility to our horses to do whatever we can to identify those who may be at risk. This is an idea worthy of consideration."
In other RCI News:
- A two-day training session is currently underway at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club for new racing regulatory personnel. RCI periodically conducts such training for new commissioners or senior regulatory personnel.
- The Model Rules Committee will consider matters pertaining to the use of multiple Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).
- At the request of The Jockeys' Guild, there will be a discussion about regulatory participation in the Jockey Injury Database.
- At the request of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association there will be a discussion about reciprocity of Veterinarian's and Steward's Lists between the United States and Canada.
- There will be a demonstration by The Jockey Club of the Electronic Treatment Records Database offered to regulators to assist in the submission of pre-race veterinary records consistent with existing regulatory requirements.
by Steve May, for RCI