RMTC Discusses Racing Medications, Names Interim Director

At its April 23 meeting in Dallas, Texas, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) board of directors approved an agreement with The Jockey Club to engage the full-time services of Jamie Haydon as RMTC interim executive director.

Haydon will report directly to the RMTC board of directors. He has worked for The Jockey Club as manager of industry initiatives since 2008, and has also previously served as promotions manager for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and director of incentive and development at the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

The RMTC Executive Director Search Committee will continue to seek a candidate to serve as a permanent executive director for the organization.

RMTC board members also heard updates from the drug testing initiatives and scientific advisory committees. Items presented for discussion included updates on RMTC-funded drug administration studies and the research being conducted under the RMTC-funded post-doctoral program, future research efforts, and current threats to racing integrity, including clenbuterol.

University of California-Davis Kenneth L. Maddy Laboratory director Scott Stanley, PhD, informed the board that a research study on the effects of the FDA-approved bronchodilator clenbuterol on muscle development and long-term elimination is currently in process at that laboratory. Results are expected in approximately 60 days. The RMTC board has scheduled a conference call following the results of Stanley's work. Among the items to be discussed are potential applications of the scientific research in horse racing.

"The RMTC recognizes that there is an issue with the abuse of clenbuterol as a substitute for anabolic steroids," said RMTC chairman Bobby Lewis, DVM, in a statement. "The use of illegally compounded clenbuterol and substances which mimic clenbuterol is also a serious concern. Many of these substances are manufactured illegally and pose a significant threat to the health and safety of the horse."

A resolution was approved by the RMTC board emphasizing that illegally compounded products mimicking clenbuterol should not be present in a racing environment. The Ventipulmin brand of clenbuterol is the only form of clenbuterol that has been approved for use in the horse by the FDA. Any other form of clenbuterol should be considered contraband by racing jurisdictions.

RMTC research consultant Rick Sams, PhD, provided an update on ongoing administration and threshold level research for several therapeutic medications including the most commonly prescribed corticosteroids.

Additionally, acting upon a recommendation of the Scientific Advisory Committee, the RMTC board approved a threshold level of 20 nanograms/mL in plasma or serum for the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug firocoxib (Equioxx). A 14-day withdrawal period prior to racing is recommended.

Sams also reported to board members on ongoing collaboration efforts with the European Horseracing Scientific Liaison Committee, and provided results of administration studies on an additional 11 therapeutic medications. Formal Scientific Advisory Committee recommendations for threshold levels and withdrawal times are due shortly, and the board anticipates receiving their recommendations and taking action accordingly at its July meeting. At that time, board members will also discuss any additional matters that develop in the interim.

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