AQHA Teams with Jockey Club to Address Medications in Racing

The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) announced Aug. 12 its endorsement of The Jockey Club's proposed Reformed Racing Medication Rules.

The rules, announced a year ago by The Jockey Club and updated recently, address the issue of permitted race-day medications, illegal doping of horses, uniform rules, and penalties for those who violate rules or attempt to harm horses and their riders.

"It is critical for us to keep racing clean for the horses; the owners, breeders and trainers; and the betting public," said Don Treadway Jr., AQHA executive vice president. "AQHA has been a leader at addressing this topic and by teaming with our Thoroughbred--and other breed--counterparts, we are forming a united front to address this very serious issue."

Over the last year, horse racing has been under the microscope. Efforts have been initiated in Washington, D.C., to regulate the industry. AQHA Director and Racing Council Chairman Matt Witman testified before a Senate hearing in July regarding medication and performance-enhancing drugs in horse racing.

AQHA's endorsement included one qualification, with AQHA not calling for the withdrawal of the use of furosemide on race day. The Jockey Club has long advocated the removal of this medication from competition.

"AQHA and The Jockey Club have had productive meetings to address topics within the proposal in order to gain widespread industry endorsement and broader support," Treadway said. "Both AQHA and The Jockey Club agree that working jointly to promote the Reformed Racing Medication Rules and addressing this most important issue in a united fashion will move the industry to where it needs to be to address race-day medications, uniform rules, and illicit and illegal drugs, and punish those who use them in swifter fashion and with harsher penalties."

At The Jockey Club's recent Round Table Conference in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., it was also announced today that the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association has endorsed the Reformed Racing Medication Rules.

"We have to agree on a goal of not only ensuring that our sport is as safe as possible and that our athletes are properly cared for, but also reassure public observers and our fans that we compare favorably to other sports and the international racing community when it comes to the use of drugs," said Stuart S. Janney III, vice chairman of The Jockey Club and chairman of the Thoroughbred Safety Committee. "We are immensely pleased to have the American Quarter Horse Association and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association joining this critical initiative."

The AQHA Racing Council will meet later this month and among its topics will be the Reformed Racing Medication Rules proposal and other avenues the Association will pursue to protect horses from those who seek to do them harm. AQHA and The Jockey Club will be reaching out to other groups to coordinate an industry-wide meeting on the Reformed Racing Medication Rules proposal.

A copy of the Aug. 12, version of the Reformed Racing Medication Rules can be found online.

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