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The entire Arkansas horse racing industry joined the Arkansas Racing Commission today as it voted to formally oppose federal intervention and pending legislation in Washington that would shift equine welfare and anti-doping efforts to a private entity with no experience with horses. Arkansas Racing Commission Chairman Cecil Alexander announced that the commission was “unanimous” in today’s vote to oppose efforts to pass federal legislation to shift state regulatory responsibility to the control of the private and non-accountable US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in order to reverse a long standing equine welfare policy. At today’s Commission meeting the following organizations representing the entire racing industry in Arkansas indicated opposition to the federal legislative attempts:  Oaklawn Park, the Arkansas Thoroughbred Breeders and Horseman’s Association, and the Arkansas Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.  Mark Lamberth, a Member of the Commission and current Chair of the Association of Racing Commissioners International said the federal legislative initiative was a “departure from cooperative efforts that have historically been productive”.   Lamberth said that if the USADA was interested in helping Arkansas racing, they should accept the ARCI’s invitation for collaboration instead of pursuing a “hostile takeover”. The ARCI has noted that the pending Barr/Tonko bill would necessitate a new tax on the racing industry to pay for USADA involvement and grant the Colorado based organization tremendous control over Arkansas racing.   “These bills give a private organization in Colorado Springs the unchecked authority to effectively shut down the Arkansas racing industry if we don’t pay their bill or adhere to their edicts.   Local communities and local voices are shut out and this is just plain wrong,” he said. The ARCI has noted that the USADA drug testing program is 1/37 the size of the program operated by US State racing commissions.   The percentage of drug rule violations detected is roughly the same in the USADA program as it is in the current program conducted by the states. “Racing commissions are uniform in not allowing performance enhancing substances in horses when they race,” Lamberth noted.   “On the advice of the veterinary medical community, for the past thirty years a raceday administration of a medication proven to be helpful to the horse to mitigate or prevent airwave lesions and exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage is allowed.   As its use is ubiquitous and disclosed to the public, no horse is given an advantage when it races and any attempt to characterize this as anything other than putting the horse first is just plain wrong.” Lamberth questioned USADA developed anti-doping policies deployed in human sport that permit athletes to compete under the influence of substances that would never be tolerated if found in a post race sample taken from a horse following a race. Under the World Anti-Doping Code, athletes may request a “therapeutic use exemption” to train and compete with a performance enhancing drug.   According to the USADA 2014 Annual Report, about 85% of applications fully processed are approved. “Anyone who’s concerned about drugs in racing should have a real problem with the fact that USADA thinks it OK not to tell the public which athletes are using drugs when they compete.  They don’t even tell you the events involved,” he said. Lamberth said that both the ARCI and the Arkansas Racing Commission are interested in “working with anyone who wants to help us do what we do”.   He noted that the federal legislative effort might be better focused on targeting a portion of the $9 million federal appropriation to combat doping in professional sport in order to support efforts in horse racing.   “I find it amazing that neither bill that has been proposed actually provides any assistance to help us,” he concluded. Ed Martin

Lexington, KY --- Racing’s anti-doping rules will continue to withstand legal challenge, according to conclusions reached at a meeting of regulatory attorneys convened by the Association of Racing Commissioners International. “A widely reported decision in Delaware not to pursue a prosecution in a singular case had mitigating factors that were unique. This has been thoroughly reviewed as have been the standards required for a successful prosecution and we are confident that the rules will continue to withstand any future challenge,” said Mark Lamberth, chairman of the ARCI and a member of the Arkansas Racing Commission. Following press coverage intimating that rules based upon the recommendations of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium as embodied in the ARCI Model Rules might be vulnerable to legal attack, the meeting was convened to conduct a vulnerability assessment. “I am not aware of any successful challenge to a drug prosecution based on science. People will try and spend a lot money doing so, but in the end, the courts have upheld racing commission actions,” said Ed Martin, the ARCI’s President, noting that the attorneys identified no vulnerability in current rules. (Note: A recent court decision in Kentucky overturning an action by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission was based on mitigating circumstance relating to the justification of the penalty stemming from Kentucky’s classification definition of the medication Levamisole, not on the science or capacity of the laboratory behind its detection.) Lamberth has asked the RMTC to make as much information as possible available to help the public and industry understand that regulatory policies are based on a solid review and assessment of the science, literature and opinions of recognized experts. Earlier this year, the ARCI convened its own scientific advisory group to assess issues independently from the RMTC. “It’s important for people to have confidence in the process and regulators have a responsibility to consider all views and assessments,” Lamberth said. “Scientific recommendations are based on what it is that we know today. As additional research work is done and completed, we always reserve the right to change policy based on new information. Absent that, those who must defend racing commission actions in court have an extremely high degree of confidence in the integrity of the current system.” by Steve May, Racing Commissioners International 

LEXINGTON, KY - The President of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) today predicted that the currently unregulated horse breeding industry will ultimately be folded into any federal racing legislation that advances in Washington. "I fully anticipate that as current proposals advance in the legislative process, Members of Congress will heed comments made by a key supporter of federal intervention about the practices of Thoroughbred breeders that may be contributing to an inappropriate reliance on drugs," Ed Martin said. Prior to becoming involved with racing regulatory matters, Martin served as a senior aide on Capitol Hill for almost a decade. The President of the Humane Society of the United States and a member of The Jockey Club's coalition, Wayne Pacelle, wrote in a July 20, 2015 column published on the animal welfare website thedodo.com the following: "Doping horses for racing is more dangerous today than ever because breeding practices - which select for speed and champagne-glass legs - make the horses less sturdy and more vulnerable to breakdowns than they were even 10 or 20 years ago." The Thoroughbred breeding industry and related sales companies are not currently regulated by the states, creating a void that Martin predicted Congress would fill given the universal concern about Thoroughbred racing breakdowns. Martin noted that state racing commission medication reforms already implemented are starting to reduce catastrophic injuries in some jurisdictions as reported by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear at The Jockey Club's Roundtable conference this past weekend. He predicted that unregulated sales company medication policies that permit the stacking of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids to be used on horses going through the auction ring could be considered permissive. "I predict that Members of Congress will want to know why drugs need to be given to horses that have never raced and have not been injured," he said. The ARCI President said that if a state were to expand the jurisdiction of an ARCI member commission to regulate the breeding industry and sales companies, the association would begin working on Model Rules to assist that agency in meeting the legislative mandate. To date, that has not happened. Steve May

The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) is in the process of analyzing the full impact of the Barr/Tonko proposal announced today. In response to media requests for an immediate reaction, ARCI President Ed Martin issued the following statement: "The ARCI is unanimous in its opposition to shielding racing regulatory authority from public accountability by putting it in the hands of a private organization. "We also note that the proposal provides absolutely no federal resources and not one cent of existing federal anti-doping monies to assist in chasing those who would dope horses. "We find it ironic that many of the featured speakers at The Jockey Club's recent Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit who have been instrumental in the development and implementation of regulatory policy - racing commission experts like Dr. Mary Scollay, Dr. Rick Arthur, and Dr. Scott Palmer - would all be shut out or severely diminished under this proposal. "Equine welfare and medication policy should not be put in the hands of an entity with no experience with such matters and no veterinarian involvement. We strongly oppose the politicization of racing medication policies and are concerned that equine welfare policies will be trampled should this be enacted." ARCI

TAMPA, FL - The Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) is pleased to announce that noted spinal cord injury researcher W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D. and racing regulator Tom Sage were the recipients of the organization's top awards that were bestowed at the 81st Annual RCI Conference on Racing and Wagering Integrity, held last week at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Tampa, Florida. Dr. Dietrich was named the winner of the 2015 William H. May Award, which is given annually to an individual or group that has provided "meritorious service" to the racing industry, to honor his work with The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The program is dedicated to developing and testing new treatments for people living with paralysis, and has worked very closely with several Thoroughbred racing jockeys who have suffered catastrophic spinal cord injuries while competing. Among those jockeys include Michael Straight, Rene Douglas, Gary Donahue, and exercise rider and assistant trainer Robin Cleary, who since her injury has raised over $1 million for The Miami Project. "The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis was established in 1985 to promote a new type of research today called regenerative medicine. Currently, over 200 dedicated individuals are helping to obtain the knowledge required to achieve the goals of the mission. We thank our supporters for helping us move our programs across the finish line," said Dr. Dietrich, who was unable to attend the ceremony. Receiving the award in his place was Terry Meyocks, National Manager for The Jockeys' Guild. The 2015 Len Foote Award was given to Tom Sage, Executive Director of the Nebraska State Racing Commission. The award is named in honor of the late Len Foote, longtime Executive Director of the California Horse Racing Board, and is considered the highest distinction for racing officials in North America. The award was presented by John F. Wayne, the Executive Director of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, who spoke highly of the work that Sage has done over the years with RCI as well as the Organization of Racing Investigators (ORI). In Sage's remarks, he noted that while he is considered one of the younger Executive Directors to be named the Len Foote Award recipient, he is very proud of the work that he has done in Nebraska as well as nationally through RCI and the ORI. RCI President Ed Martin also issued Certificates of Exemplary Service to Charles Gardiner, Executive Director of the Louisiana State Racing Commission, to Ralph "Chip" Kemnitz, Chairman of the South Dakota Commission on Gaming, and to the late Kirk Breed, Executive Director of the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB). Accepting on behalf of Breed's family was current CHRB Executive Director Rick Baedeker. LEN FOOTE AWARD RECEPIENTS   1991 Bill Linton, Arizona   1992 Bruce Garland, New Jersey   1993 Gordon Hare, Oklahoma   1994 Larry Eliason, South Dakota   Dennis Oelschlager, Nebraska   1995 Ken Kirchner, Pennsylvania   1996 Frank Lamb, Wyoming   1997 Steve Barham, Oregon   1998 Frank Zanzuccki, New Jersey   1999 Joe Gorajec, Indiana   2000 Roy Wood, California   2001 Bruce Batson, Washington   2002 Cliff Nelson, Ohio   2003 John Wayne, Delaware   2004 Charles Gardiner III, Louisiana   2005 Paul M. Kelley, New Hampshire   2006 Stan Bowker, Virginia   2007 Dan Hartman, Colorado   2008 Ben Nolt, Pennsylvania   2009 Lisa E. Underwood, Kentucky   2010 Charla Ann King, Texas   2011 Dick Krueger, Minnesota   2012 Constantin Rieger, Oklahoma   2013 Hugh Gallagher, Delaware   2014 Marc Laino, Illinois   2015 Tom Sage, Nebraska   WILLIAM H. MAY AWARD   1986 Robert P. Strub, Santa Anita   1987 Breeders’ Cup Ltd.   1988 Daily Racing Form   1989 Stanley F. Bergstein, HTA   1990 James P. Ryan, Ryan Foundation   1991 The Jockey Club   1992 William Shoemaker, Jockey   1993 Tony Chamblin, RCI   1994 Joe Hirsch, Racing Columnist   1995 Paul Mellon, Philanthropist   1996 Allen Paulson, Owner and Breeder   1997 James E. Bassett III, Keeneland   1998 Fred Noe, USTA   1999 Bob and Beverly Lewis, Horse    2006 Curtis Barrett, University of Louisville   2007 American Greyhound Council   2008 University of Arizona, Race Track Industry Program   2009 Richard Duchossois, Arlington Park   2010 Paul J. Bowlinger, Former RCI Employee   2011 Team Zenyatta   2012 John and Barbara Smicklas   2013 Steve Barham   2014 Jim Gowan   2015 W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D.    2000 R.D. Hubbard, Track, Horse Owner   2001 John R. Gaines, Horse Owners, Breeders’ Cup   2002 American Quarter Horse Association   2003 American Association of Equine Practitioners    2004 Racetrack Chaplaincy Program   2005 Lonny T. Powell, Past RCI President and CEO   Steve May Vice President and Business Manager Association of Racing Commissioners International

TAMPA, FL - With the recent elevation of Mark Lamberth, commissioner from the Arkansas Racing Commission, as its 2015 Chairman, the Association of Racing Commissioners International tapped Louisiana commissioner Judy Wagner to serve as Secretary/Chairperson-Elect and Washington State Racing Commission member Jeff Colliton as Treasurer. Lamberth, a Thoroughbred owner, was appointed to the Arkansas Racing Commission in 2011 after previously serving on the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. The elections were part of the 81st Annual RCI Conference on Racing and Wagering Integrity, held last week at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. The regulators also added Bill Phillips (West Virginia Racing Commission), Tom DiPasquale (Minnesota Racing Commission), Steve Suttie (Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency), John Wayne (Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission) and David Loregnard (Trinidad and Tobago Racing Authority) to the RCI Board of Directors. The RCI Board also includes Rick Baedeker (California Horse Racing Board), Rob Williams New York State Gaming Commission, Frank Zanzuccki (New Jersey Racing Commission), Dr. Corrine Sweeney (Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission), Jonathan Zachem (Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering), and Steve Lehman (Ontario Racing Commission). Re-elected Board members include Eddie Menton (Mobile County Racing Commission), Tom Sage (Nebraska State Racing Commission), Charles Gardiner (Louisiana State Racing Commission), Larry Eliason (South Dakota Commission on Gaming), Constantin Rieger (Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission), and Mike Hopkins (Maryland Racing Commission). RCI President Ed Martin said the RCI Board "reflects an expertise applicable to every aspect of racing and the group is blessed to have the commitment of so many talented professionals who strive to do right by our horses, greyhounds, and the sports they regulate." Horseplayers and fans will have an important advocate in Judy Wagner. In addition to serving as the Louisiana State Racing Commission, Wagner is also the Horseplayers Representative on the NTRA Board of Directors. RCI Board Members serve one year terms, with the exception of the Secretary/Chairperson-Elect, who will automatically be elevated to Chairperson of the association at the 2016 RCI Annual Meeting. Steve May Vice President and Business Manager

Tampa, FL - The Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) is formally notifying regulators and their testing labs of a new policy that would make it illegal to administer cobalt to a race horse. The RCI Board of Directors last week voted to sanction trainers of horses that were found to have a cobalt level of 50 parts per billion (ppb) or greater of blood plasma or serum with a "B" penalty, which calls for a minimum 15-day suspension, a minimum $500 fine, and 4 points on the trainers Multiple Medication Violation record. Owners of horses that raced would also face a loss of any purse money earned and the horse would be excluded from competition until a retest at the owner's expense proves levels have dropped to below 25 ppb in plasma/serum. The 50 ppb was based upon the unanimous recommendation of the RCI Scientific Advisory Group which met on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 to review a proposal from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium that was submitted on April 10, 2015. The RCI Drug Testing Standards and Practices (DTSP) Committee unanimously affirmed that recommendation on April 23, 2015 and it was adopted that same day by the association's Board of Directors. The RCI Board also adopted a policy that would exclude horses from competition that were found to have a cobalt level of greater than or equal to 25 ppb but below 50 ppb of blood plasma or serum. Those horses would be placed on the Veterinarian's List and not be allowed to return to competition until a subsequent test proves that high cobalt levels have dropped below 25 ppb. Subsequent tests would be conducted at the owner's expense. The RCI Board of Directors opted to defer action pending further review and comment on an additional recommendation to impose a ten year suspension on trainers of any horse found to have over 300 parts per billion of cobalt in blood plasma or serum. That recommendation was supported by a majority of the DTSP Committee and five of six members of the RCI Scientific Advisory Group. RCI policies are embodied in the ARCI Model Rules and the Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances, which serve as a regulatory policy guide for commissions. In some instances, both documents can have the force of law if a jurisdiction or regulatory agency has enacted a policy to incorporate them by reference. The RCI Board expressed appreciation for the work of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium as well as the following members of the RCI Scientific Advisory Group: Dr. Adam Chambers, Dr. Kenneth McKeever, Dr. George Maylin, Dr. Mary Robinson, Dr. Scott Stanley, and Dr. Thomas Tobin. Steve May Vice President and Business Manager Association of Racing Commissioners International

Racing industry officials in late March and early April said they again expect to see federal legislation filed this year that would authorize the United States Anti-Doping Agency to oversee equine medication and drug testing procedures. Last summer The Jockey Club at its Round Table conference indicated it would advocate for federal involvement in addition to current state-by-state efforts to adopt the National Uniform Medication Program. Also last August Travis Tygart, chief executive officer and counsel for USADA, outlined a strategy at a briefing put together by the Water Hay Oats Alliance. WHOA, which has a growing membership of Thoroughbred stakeholders, in its mission statement supports passage of a federal bill that would "prohibit the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of horse racing" via an independent anti-doping program run by USADA. During the Racing Officials Accreditation Program conference in late March, industry officials said there will be a heightened push in 2015 for federal legislation that would be similar to a bill introduced in 2013. Ed Martin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, suggested the legislation would identify USADA to oversee the program. "RCI does not have a position on any piece of legislation," Martin said at the ROAP conference. "It does believe in using a compact that lets states maintain their authority. We can spend a lot of time and money playing musical chairs to address the issue. Organizations are spending money on lobbyists that can be used for equine welfare or funding the TRPB to hire investigators. That's the problem we have to address, not the rearranging of the chairs." Details on the 2015 strategy aren't yet known, though Jim Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club, indicated April 2 the organization is maintaining the course it outlined last year. "The Jockey Club continues to closely monitor the progress of the National Uniform Medication Program and, at the same time, consider strategies to broaden our advocacy for improved and uniform regulation for Thoroughbred racing," Gagliano said. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association also predicted lawmakers will be solicited to sponsor federal legislation on medication regulation and testing. The organization, as it has in the past, won't take a position on the issue. "The NTRA has taken no position on these bills as our membership remains divided on the issue of federal or central authority over testing for banned substances and the regulation of therapeutic medications," NTRA president and CEO Alex Waldrop said. "However, the association continues to provide information and data to interested parties and remains committed to achieving consensus on this issue." The NTRA on its board has representatives of horsemen's groups and racetracks, some of which oppose federal involvement. Others on the NTRA board, such as The Jockey Club, believe more must be done regarding medication and drug testing.  Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association chairman Alan Foreman, who also spoke at the ROAP conference, said whether there is federal oversight or not, the research and scientific advice will have to come from the horseracing industry because USADA hasn't done equine drug testing. He also cited progress on adoption of all or parts of the National Uniform Medication Program. "You'll hear the only answer is for the federal government to regulate horse racing," Foreman said. "If (supporters) a year ago got behind a uniform message that racing has a better story to tell than any other sport, I guarantee you the public's impression of the sport would be different at this time." The National Uniform Medication Program allows for the use of race-day furosemide, also called Salix or Lasix. The proposed Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act of 2013 called for a ban on all medication within 24 hours of a race, with a two-year exception for furosemide. Whether the same language is included in the 2015 version of the bill remains to be seen. Foreman indicated he believes it will be part of the bill. "Lasix is going to be like gun control or abortion," he said. "It's going to divide this industry." Tygart last year made a point to note the issue is about federal legislation, not federal regulation or intervention. If USADA was authorized to handle equine drug testing and enforcement, the organization would have to develop rules, with industry input, that would be unique to horse racing, he said. USADA isn't a federal agency, though it does receive federal grant money. Tygart also said there is an inherent conflict of interest when a sport promotes and polices itself, and suggested horse racing falls into that category under its current structure. Martin of RCI, meanwhile, has repeatedly stated that state regulators are independent by virtue of their responsibilities. Written by Tom LaMarra Reprinted with the permission of bloodhorse.com Read more on BloodHorse.com: 

COLUMBUS, Ohio - In remarks made before the Board of Directors of the United States Trotting Association this past weekend, Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) President Ed Martin indicated that he expected regulators would set a uniform approach on cobalt when they meet in Tampa, Florida, at meetings held April 21-23, 2015. Martin predicted that the regulators would act to set in motion a ban on intentional cobalt administrations out of equine welfare concerns and the possibility of performance enhancement. Horses found with elevated cobalt levels would be excluded from competition until such levels subsided. Trainers of horses with cobalt levels indicative of an intentional administration would face sanctions and suspension. "Regulatory veterinary staff in several jurisdictions have received complaints and/or observed instances where a cobalt administration has caused distress and colic in horses, causing cramps and muscle twitching, sweating, and pain," said Martin. "We are obviously concerned about the use of cobalt with the belief that it will enhance performance. But while the published science is not fully settled at what point that actually happens, we believe it is wrong to deliberately put a horse in discomfort absent a compelling medical reason to treat a serious ailment or injury. This issue is about the horse and not just about doping," he said. The RCI Executive Committee met last week and was unanimous in its desire that a uniform approach be adopted to prohibit cobalt administration in a way that does not impact those who have not deliberately administered it. RCI's Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee will meet on Thursday morning, April 23, 2015 to consider options on cobalt regulatory thresholds. Recommendations from RCI science advisors as well as other organizations such as the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) will be considered. In addition, Dr. Terrance S.M. Wan, the head of the Racing Laboratory and Chief Racing Chemist for the Hong Kong Jockey Cub, will be participating in the RCI meetings. Dr. Wan is the author, along with others, of a 2014 study entitled "Controlling the Misuse of Cobalt in Horses". The Association of Racing Commissioners International is the only umbrella organization of official rule making entities dealing with the totality of all professional horse racing. The ARCI sets standards for racing regulation, medication policy, drug testing labs, tote systems, racetrack operation and security, and off-track wagering entities. Its members are the only independent entities recognized to license, enforce, and adjudicate matters pertaining to racing. Steve May  

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) has modified its Model Wagering Rules to permit the carryover of Pentafecta pools to other tracks operated by a licensed racing association for which they are the pool host. The ARCI also clarified provisions pertaining to such wagering and articulated that refunds should be issued when betting interests drop below five. The changes were made at the request of the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency and the racetracks of Canada and effectively modify sections ARCI-004-105 and ARCI-004-024 of the ARCI Model Rules. Adoption of wagering rules by the ARCI has the immediate effect of regulation in Canada. Some U.S. jurisdictions have also opted to adopt ARCI Model Rules and standards by reference. The association has also voted to make minor, non-substantive changes to its model rules pertaining to prohibitions affecting the "stacking" of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), specifically placing an upper limit to the threshold range constituting a Class 3 NSAID Stacking Violation as noted in ARCI-011-020 and ARCI-025-020. The group also reaffirmed its earlier actions recommending Penalty Class C sanctions for medication violations involving Firocoxib by making appropriate adjustments to ARCI's Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances. The ARCI is the only umbrella organization of the officially sanctioned governing rulemaking bodies for professional horse and greyhound racing in North America and parts of the Caribbean. The ARCI sets standards for racing regulation, medication policy, drug testing laboratories, totalizator systems, racetrack operation and security, and off-track wagering entities. ARCI members are the only independent entitles recognized to license, enforce, and adjudicate matters pertaining to racing. by Steve May, for ARCI

Lexington, KY ---- In an effort to strengthen rules to combat the use of illegally compounded medications in racing, regulators are taking steps to ensure that commissions have adequate authority to sanction licensees who violate existing federal restrictions limiting the use of such substances. “Commission investigators are finding that some are seeking to circumvent existing doping rules by using new drugs created by combining multiple substances in a compound,” Association of Racing Commissioners International President Ed Martin said. “Existing federal rules requiring that compounded medications be dispensed only by veterinary prescription to address a specific medical need of an individual horse are being ignored by some. It is a problem that those doing this believe they won’t get caught by the feds. Racing commissions are taking steps to ensure that they can confiscate the substances and bring action against those who use or distribute these illegal compounds.” The ARCI has given approval to a Model Rules policy that would: Outlaw the possession or use of a drug, substance, or medication not specifically approved by an appropriate federal agency absent permission of the Commission or its designee. Ban the possession, use, or distribution of a compounded medication on track property if there is a United States Food and Drug Administration-approved equivalent of that substance available for purchase. Require that a compounded medication be dispensed only by prescription issued by a licensed veterinarian to meet the medical needs of a specific horse and for use only in that specific horse Create a racing rules violation for the possession of a compounded medication not properly labeled consistent with existing federal requirements. Adoption of the new provision augments existing efforts of racing commissions to combat illegally compounded drugs. In 2012 several southern and western U.S. state racing commissions quietly requested federal assistance in tackling this problem. Today state and federal regulatory entities are cooperating in joint efforts. Additionally, racing commissions deploy vehicle and barn searches that have been helpful in finding illegal substances. The newly adopted policy is included in the ARCI Model Rules ARCI-011-020 and ARCI-025-020. Commissions are expected to promulgate regulations in 2015. Action on a companion provision concerning medical labeling requirements was deferred by the ARCI pending public comment on whether a prescription for a substance should be required to be issued by a veterinarian licensed in the racing regulatory jurisdiction where the track is located. Due to the fact that many horses participate in multiple jurisdictions, questions were raised as to whether such a requirement would impose an undue burden. Those wishing to comment on the proposed language may do so online at the ARCI website. The ARCI acknowledges those who assisted in the development and drafting of the new model policy, particularly Dr. Lynn Hovda, Chairperson of the ARCI Regulatory Veterinarians Committee; Dr. Dionne Benson, Executive Director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium; Mr. Hugh Gallagher of the New York Racing Association; Dr. Mary Scollay-Ward, Equine Medical Director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission; and Dr. Rick Arthur of the California Horse Racing Board. The ARCI is the only umbrella organization of the officially sanctioned governing rulemaking bodies for professional horse and greyhound racing in North America and parts of the Caribbean. The ARCI sets standards for racing regulation, medication policy, drug testing laboratories, totalizator systems, racetrack operation and security, and off-track wagering entities. ARCI members are the only independent entitles recognized to license, enforce, and adjudicate matters pertaining to racing. by Steve May, for Racing Commissioners International 

TUCSON, Az. - The Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) has voted to create a permanent scientific advisory board to develop recommendations upon which anti-doping programs are conducted, modeled in part after the process conducted in human sport by the Partnership for Clean Competition. "The RCI Board believes the advisory process on racing medication and anti-doping policy can be strengthened and redundancies eliminated," RCI Chairman John T. Ward, Jr. said. "As regulators, we have the exclusive responsibility to make and enforce the rules and given current challenges we believe it is time to restructure the advisory process to make it stronger." The action was prompted by numerous factors: functional concerns about the current scientific advisory process, transparency, non-participation of key experts, and the withdrawal of the United States Trotting Association from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC). Regulators from twenty-one major racing jurisdictions directed RCI President Ed Martin to send a formal letter to the RMTC, proposing a partial or complete merger of the organization into a reconstituted RCI Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee. (Letter attached). "Given the economic challenges faced by the racing industry, we believe any effort to eliminate redundancies and simplify processes is the right way to go," Martin said. Should the RMTC accept an invitation to merge, it would not be the first time that RCI has worked to effectuate a racing industry merger. In 2005, the North American Pari-Mutuel Regulators Association merged with RCI. "Today, our collective effort is stronger, more professional, and effective than when we had two groups," Martin wrote. "The current policy formation process has seven steps. We think that can be cut to five," Martin said.  Membership on the Scientific Advisory Board is by appointment of the RCI Chairperson. Information as to its membership will be posted on the RCI website when fully constituted. by Steve May, for RCI

DEL MAR, CA - North American racing regulators have decided to consider the results of two scientific research studies that have been commissioned to help detect the deliberate administration of cobalt in racehorses before making a formal recommendation of a regulatory testing limit to commission testing. At the RCI Model Rules Committee meeting last week, a proposed threshold was presented and later withdrawn by representatives of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) pending further discussion by the RMTC Board of Directors. That threshold, which is based on an analysis of an RMTC-coordinated project that is funded by the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council and conducted by Dr. Heather Knych, an Assistant Professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, was advanced with the support of 8 of the 14 members of the RMTC Scientific Advisory Committee. A second research project, funded by the United States Trotting Association (USTA), is near completion according to remarks made at the meeting by Ivan Axelrod, Chairman of the USTA. That project is being conducted by George Maylin, DVM, PhD, at the New York Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College in New York. He is assisted by Karyn Malinowski, PhD, and Kenneth McKeever, MS, PhD, FACSM, the Director and Associate Director, respectively, of the Equine Science Center at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Racing regulators are concerned that cobalt treatments may be given to racehorses with an intent to affect performance by inducing red blood cell production similar to the prohibited use of erythropoietin (EPO). All horses have some degree of cobalt in their system as a result of diet and environmental factors. Excessive amounts may indicate a deliberate administration, above and beyond what would be considered appropriate or normal for vitamin or mineral supplements. Concerns have been raised about horses with extremely elevated levels of cobalt and regulators are eager to better understand if an equine welfare threat exists. In 2009, the Ontario Racing Commission issued a notice from then-Veterinary Supervisor, Dr. Bruce Duncan, who noted that "when administered in appropriate quantities, there is likely very little performance benefit. And when used in excess, this element can be toxic to horses." The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) has issued the following notice to horsemen and veterinarians: "Cobalt toxicity has been associated with myocardial (heart muscle) and other organ pathology in humans and other animals. High cobalt levels have been associated with the parenteral or oral administration of cobalt salts. While there is no documented evidence of cobalt toxicity in racehorses, the CHRB considers the administration of cobalt salts a potential equine health and safety issue." But the New Jersey Agriculture Experiment Station at Rutgers University indicates on their website the following: "High blood cobalt probably would indicate high doses of B-12 being given (the trace mineral is easier to test than the actual vitamin). The calming effect would be undesirable in a racehorse. It is virtually non-toxic and rapidly excreted through the kidneys if given in large doses, so there is no negative consequence other than possibly a quieter horse. It is recommended to give B-12 to stressed horses at around 30 microgram/kg of feed. There are no requirements for cobalt established for horses so it is uncertain what normal or excessive blood concentrations of cobalt would be. The National Research Council (2007) has set the maximum tolerable intake for cobalt to be 25 mg/kg (ppm) in the total ration but admits they base that decision on data from other species. There is no indication that horses on normal rations need supplemental cobalt." In addition, Dr. Dionne Benson, Executive Director of the RMTC, reiterated statements at last week's meeting that she has previously made to the press indicating that it is unclear at what point cobalt can become toxic to a horse. The RCI Board of Directors discussed whether to handle findings of excessive levels of cobalt indicating a deliberate administration of cobalt absent a documented deficiency and veterinarian prescribed treatment as "horse tampering". "It's one thing for a horse to be treated for a condition by its veterinarian, but quite another to be tampered with prior to a race," RCI President Ed Martin said. "Tampering is bad enough, but if we find that the tampering endangers the horse, then it's time to throw the book at someone." Although the RMTC-proposed threshold was withdrawn, a number of regulators had lingering questions as to the extent that data from Standardbred horses was included in their recommendation. Duncan Patterson, Chairman of RCI's Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee, recommended that the association consider the two studies before adopting a formal recommendation to commissions and laboratories. by Steve May for the Association of Racing Commissioners International  

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  

LEXINGTON, KY - The Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) recently named Marc Laino, Executive Director of the Illinois Racing Board (IRB), the recipient of the 2014 RCI Len Foote Award.   The Len Foote Award is the highest honor bestowed on racing commission executive directors in North America. The award was presented at the annual awards luncheon held on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Lexington, KY. Laino has been employed in various capacities since 1987, including Deputy Director, State Director of Mutuels, and Board Investigator. He has served as the Executive Director since 2003, and currently chairs the RCI Wagering Systems Security Committee. "Marc has been a tremendous asset to the Illinois Racing Board and to RCI, and there is a pleasure to honor him with the Len Foote Award," said RCI President Ed Martin. "Marc is not only an expert on flat and harness racing, but his knowledge of wagering security is rivaled by few." RCI also honored James P. Gowen, Vice President and Secretary for the Thoroughbred Racing and Protective Bureau (TRPB), with the 2014 William H. May Award. The award is presented annually to an individual or group who has shown "meritorious service" to the pari-mutuel racing industry. Past recipients include Stanley Bergstein, John Gaines, and Steve Barham, the 2013 recipient. Gowen, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam, has been involved in racing investigation since joining the TRBP as a field investigator in 1973. Gowen has worked at numerous racetracks across the United States, and was promoted to the TRPB Vice President position in 1996. Longtime friend and colleague John Wayne, the Executive Director of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, noted that "Racing is better on a day-to-day basis because of the countless hours that Mr. Gowen has dedicated to the industry". At the luncheon Martin also honored the following individuals with the RCI President's Award for Exemplary Service: David Loregnard, Executive Director, Trinidad and Tobago Racing Authority Vince Mares, Executive Director, New Mexico Racing Commission Dr. Mary Scollay-Ward, Equine Medical Director, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission John Wayne, Executive Director, Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission by Steve May, for

LEXINGTON, KY - A Hall of Fame Thoroughbred trainer, long time horse owner, and a leading regulatory veterinarian are the new officers of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) for 2014-2015, RCI President Ed Martin announced today. John T. Ward, Jr., the Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, was automatically elevated to become the RCI Chairman this month. Ward is a long time board member of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) and a founding member and past president of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association as well as the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA). Ward has also served on the TOBA Sales Integrity Task Force and the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council and as a member of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. In 2002, he and his wife Donna were named recipients of the 2002 Kentucky Thoroughbred Media's Ambassadors of Racing Award. All RCI officers serve for a term of one year. Ward replaces Duncan Patterson, who is the current Chairman of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission. Arkansas Racing Commissioner Mark Lamberth was elected to be Chair-elect by the newly elected RCI Board. Lamberth has owned horses since 1985 and prior to his appointment to the commission Lamberth served on the Board of the Arkansas Horsemen's Benevolence & Protective Association. He is a prominent business leader in his state and serves on the RCI Model Rules and Equine Welfare Committees. The Director of Racing for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Jennifer Durenberger, DMV, was elected to serve as the association's Treasurer. Dr. Durenberger, who is also an attorney, has been involved as a regulatory veterinarian and racing official in multiple jurisdictions since becoming involved with racing in 1991. She is an accredited Steward and member of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program Education Committee. She serves on the American Association of Equine Practitioners Ethics and Professional Conduct Committee, the RCI Model Rules and Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committees, as well as The Jockey Club's Racing Equipment and Safety Committee. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Law Association and is active with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Safety and Integrity Alliance. "At a critical time for the racing industry RCI continues to demonstrate proficiency and leadership in a number of areas essential to the sport. The collective involvement of our Members, working in consultation with the various breeds and industry leaders has resulted in important advances designed to safeguard horses as well as the integrity of the sport," RCI President Ed Martin said. "Those advances include widespread adherence to RCI/RMTC lab standards, increased reliance on pre-race veterinarian examinations, limits on toe grabs, development of universal totalizator system standards, and increased training and accreditation for racing officials." "The expertise represented in the RCI leadership and Board is balanced and represents every aspect of the sport. Veterinarians, owners, trainers, fans, those who know business, those who know racing, and those who understand government. RCI is truly independent with no agenda other than to protect these great sports by safeguarding our athletes and participants as well as the public interest," he said. RCI is incorporated in the United States as a not-for-profit 501(c)(6). It is the same legal structure as the National Football League, although it is currently only empowered to function in an advisory and supportive role to the government regulators of horse and greyhound racing, who comprise its voting members. by Steve May for the Association of Racing Commissioners International  

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