Regulators to Discuss Race-Day Medication in Thoroughbreds

An Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) committee will meet July 26 to hear opinions and testimony on use of race-day medication in racehorses.

The Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee will meet in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., the RCI said in a July 18 release. It is designed to offer regulators a chance to ask questions they couldn't broach during an international race-day drug summit in June.

"Although the summit was helpful, there was limited opportunity for regulators to ask questions of the participants," RCI president Ed Martin said in a statement. "It was the consensus of those present that a follow-up meeting was necessary. The central question for regulators is the extent to which the removal of this medication on those days a horse actually races would pose any significant equine health risk."

The committee will hear from Tom David, DVM, chairman of the RCI Regulatory Veterinarian Committee; Scott Palmer, VMD, who chairs the American Association of Equine Practitioners Racing Committee; N. Edward Robinson, BVetMed, PhD, from the Center for Integrative Toxicology at the Veterinary Medical Center at Michigan State University; and others.

The Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association have been invited to appear in person before the committee. It is anticipated other groups will be invited to submit written position papers following the July 26 meeting.

Willie Koester, RCI chairman and a member of the Ohio State Racing Commission, has proposed the complete phase out of the anti-bleeding medication Salix as a permitted race-day medication. The RCI board of directors has determined that a review of the current regulatory policy permitting horses found by a veterinarian to demonstrate any level of exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage to be treated on race day is warranted.

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