Federal Legislation to Reform Medication Rules Discussed

Federal Legislation to Reform Medication Rules Discussed

Thoroughbred racing should continue its pursuit of federal legislation for the purpose of reforming the industry’s medication rules, round table speakers agreed.

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Thoroughbred racing should continue its pursuit of federal legislation for the purpose of reforming the industry’s medication rules, many speakers agreed during The Jockey Club’s 63rd annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing.

That sentiment was echoed by Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky; Olympic track and field great and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) Chairman Edwin Moses; and James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club who was speaking on behalf of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity, at the conference, held Aug. 9 in Saratoga Springs, New York.

A video replay of the entire two-hour conference is now available on jockeyclub.com and full transcripts will be available by Monday evening on the same site.

Beshear said Kentucky has previously endorsed and embraced the need for broad-based reform, a national medication regulatory authority, and a system that responds quickly to address ever-changing trends in the drug landscape.

“Our collective experiences over the last several decades have demonstrated that individual state racing commissions cannot get this job done,” he said. “The only way to achieve these changes is through federal legislation.”

He made reference to HR 3084, a bill known as the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015, which was introduced by Representatives Andy Barr of Kentucky and Paul Tonko of New York last month.

“Thorny issues need to be discussed and worked through,” he said.

Moses likened the situation in Thoroughbred racing to anti-doping efforts of the Olympic movement decades ago.

“Athletes of my generation, myself included, who were doing it the right way and competing clean, became extremely frustrated by the dirty sport culture that allowed cheaters to prosper,” he said. “It is because athletes took a stand and demanded that an independent organization be established to create universally applicable rules and to enforce those rules equally across all sports, that we have USADA and the World Anti-Doping Agency today.

“What we did in the Olympic movement is exactly what many of you all are doing now. We worked together with both sport as well as government, and created uniform rules for coordination of policies at every level. And when I say sport and government, I want to be very clear that USADA is not a government agency; we are an independent 501(c)3.”

Later in the program, Gagliano provided an update on the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity, which includes Breeders’ Cup Limited, Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, The Jockey Club, and the Water Hay Oats Alliance.

The mission of the coalition is the adoption of a national uniform standard for drugs and medication in Thoroughbred racing.

“With the recent introduction of HR 3084, the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015, significant elements of the industry have come together to support legislation that will designate the USADA to establish the Thoroughbred Horseracing Anti-Doping Authority (THADA),” Gagliano said. “Importantly, the THADA board will have industry representation and industry input. Racing commissions, horsemen, veterinarians, racetrack operators and other industry associations are all constituencies that can be represented.”

The THADA will set anti-doping rules for prohibited substances, out-of-competition testing, uniform penalties, and the accreditation and oversight of drug-testing labs.

“Every member of this coalition firmly believes we are going down the right path and that this is good legislation,” he added. “We believe that our athletes will be safer, the integrity of competition will be enhanced, and the image of our sport will be improved when this legislation is passed.”

Other highlights of the conference:

  • Rick Bailey, the registrar of The Jockey Club, announced that The Jockey Club’s board of stewards has changed certain provisions of the Principal Rules and Requirements of the American Stud Book and that microchips will become a requirement for registration for foals of 2017 and later
  • The Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred Safety Committee issued two new recommendations. The first called for the development of a centralized database for data collected during post-mortem examination of racing-related injuries. The second encouraged all North American racing associations and regulatory authorities to require all Thoroughbreds featured on any official veterinarian’s lists for soundness, illness, physical distress, infirmity or any other medical reason to demonstrate fitness to return to competition. The complete recommendations can be viewed at the Thoroughbred Safety Committee website in the Safety Initiatives section of The Jockey Club website.
  • Bill Squadron, executive vice president of Strategic Relationships, STATS LLC, the world’s leading sports technology, data, and content company, announced that the company has entered into a strategic partnership with Equibase Company, the Thoroughbred industry’s official database, to develop products and services for horseplayers.
  • Kathy Anderson, DVM, president-elect of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), provided an overview of the AAEP’s 10-point plan for action with regard to racing reform, which was released earlier this week.

Stuart S. Janney III, who was elected to succeed Ogden Mills (Dinny) Phipps as the chairman of The Jockey Club by the organization’s board of stewards on Saturday, closed the conference by paying tribute to Phipps, who served as chairman of The Jockey Club for 32 years.

“Dinny has quietly devoted thousands of hours to initiatives he thought would improve the conditions of Thoroughbred breeding and racing, often reminding those around him of the importance of consumer confidence in our sport,” Janney said. “With his guidance, we have made significant strides in the areas of medication, aftercare, technology and marketing, to name a few. He has believed for a long time that The Jockey Club should be more than a breed registry and in the past 32 years it surely has been.”

On behalf of The Jockey Club’s board of stewards, Janney then presented Phipps with The Jockey Club Medal. The medal is awarded to an individual for contributions to the Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry.

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