RMTC Approves Multiple Violation Penalty Model Rule

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) board of directors has given final approval for a Multiple Violation Penalty (MVP) model rule and has forwarded it to the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) for consideration at its meeting in Saratoga on July 30-31, 2013.

The MVP model rule represents an industry-wide plan to provide appropriate penalties for serious or accumulated violations of medication regulations, and is another important step toward enacting a new comprehensive medication and testing regulatory system for North American racing.

The highlights of the model rule are:

  • It is a point-based system in which all medication violations will be assigned points.
  • Point values are based on the RCI Uniform Classification of Drugs (1-5) and Penalty Classification (A-D).
  • Violations involving the newly approved controlled therapeutic medications (medications suitable for horses in training, for which trace levels, which will not have any effect on race day, can be detected in post-race testing) will receive fewer points than those for the non-controlled or prohibited substances.
  • Trainers accumulating a predetermined number of points will be required to serve an additional mandatory suspension.
  • Mandatory suspensions can be incurred for as few as two medication violations depending on the category.
  • Suspensions resulting from the MVP system range from 30-360 days.
  • Violations in all jurisdictions will be combined and the MVP system requires stewards and commissions in respective jurisdictions to consider a trainer’s entire point record.
  • Licensees will have the ability to have points incurred in lesser therapeutic categories expunged from their record after defined durations.

The development of the MVP model rule emanated from 2011’s "International Summit on Race Day Medication, EIPH and the Racehorse," at which the industry’s penalty system was identified as a major concern. At the summit, the RMTC Penalties Subcommittee, led by vice chairman Alan Foreman, Esq., was tasked with developing a system to punish repeat violators of medication regulations. The subcommittee expanded its mandate to include the identification of therapeutic medications that now comprise the controlled therapeutic medications list, and laboratory enhancement and accreditation.

“RMTC formed the Penalties Subcommittee in response to our industry's desire to eliminate the broad disparities in penalties across the various jurisdictions and to create a penalty system that is an effective deterrent against intentional violation of medication rules to gain unfair advantage in racing,” said RMTC Chairman Bobby Lewis, DVM. “The RMTC board believes these suggested guidelines are a big step in that direction.”

Prior to adopting the model rule, the RMTC worked extensively with other industry groups including the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, The Jockey Club, the National Horsemen’s Benevolence and Protective Association, and the RCI. Since the proposed MVP system was announced at the RCI Convention in April, both RCI and RMTC have received industry comment from numerous industry groups. All issues raised by these groups were considered in the model rule.

“The MVP model rule is the result of two years of work by the RMTC Penalties Subcommittee,” stated RMTC Executive Director Dionne Benson, DVM. “The concerns of all interested parties were heard and discussed extensively during that time. The resulting rule represents a reasonable and straightforward method for addressing the issue of repeat medication violations.”

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