ARCI Updates Model Rules, Will Review Penalty Guidelines

ARCI Updates Model Rules, Will Review Penalty Guidelines

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Stewards and judges will be given greater flexibility to consider mitigating factors in deciding whether to deny the purse and disqualify a horse for lesser violations of racing’s medication rules under the latest version of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) Model Rules of Racing.

Version 8.1, now available at, permits the consideration of mitigating factors in deciding whether to deny a purse for some violations involving substances requiring a Class C penalty. Consideration of mitigating circumstances has long been permitted for Class B penalty violations, and this change would extend current policy to lessor offenses.

The ARCI Board also voted to conduct an overall review of the recommended Penalty Guidelines for medication and doping violations.

“Some have argued that the recommended penalties may not be tough enough for the most egregious violations or that isolated minor offenses are treated too harshly,” said ARCI President Ed Martin. “This has not been examined in depth for many years and the Board believes this review is overdue.”

Jeff Colliton, ARCI chair and chairman of the Washington Racing Commission, assigned the task to the Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee. Committee Chair Duncan Patterson, chair of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, will coordinate that review in consultation with committee members and industry representatives.

In other actions, the ARCI:

  • Voted not to modify its existing rule requiring the independent third-party furosemide administration. Some states, like Minnesota and Colorado, have adopted an alternate approach and a proposal was considered, but rejected, to include those approaches in the model rules;
  • Affirmed the policy of assigning four multiple medication violation (MMV) points for carbon dioxide (or TCO2) violations;
  • Amended the model rule to reflect the current policy in Kentucky giving greater flexibility to tracks in determining payouts for Pick N/PositionX wagers; and
  • Approved preliminary changes to strengthen the rule concerning the use of the riding crop with final adoption and publication contingent on a clear definition of the term “chance to respond” in order to provide clarification/direction to stewards in determining a violation.
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