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|Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (2/11/09)
Contact: Bob Curran Jr. (212) 521-5326
THOROUGHBRED SAFETY COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF FROZEN SAMPLE AND RETROSPECTIVE TESTING PROGRAM
The Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred Safety Committee (TSC) announced today that it will fund a Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) frozen sample and retrospective testing program that will begin in April. This program is part of the drug testing initiative that evolved from a TSC recommendation announced at The Jockey Club’s Round Table Conference last August.
The Thoroughbred Safety Committee’s recommendation included the maintenance of a facility to store frozen samples for future analysis. The Jockey Club’s Board of Stewards has approved $150,000 in funding to RMTC for this and other drug testing purposes in 2009.
“We have devoted significant resources, financial and otherwise, to medication issues through the years and we will continue to do so,” said Ogden Mills (Dinny) Phipps, chairman of The Jockey Club. “There is nothing more important or more critical for this entire industry, and a frozen sample retrospective testing program is a key component of any drug testing initiative.”
RMTC will coordinate the frozen storage of plasma and/or urine post-race, pre-race and out-of-competition samples. In addition, funding will be provided for the retrospective super testing of plasma and/or urine samples.
“The purpose of this program is to act as a deterrent to the use of illegal drugs or prohibited medications in racehorses competing in the United States,” said Stuart S. Janney III, chairman of the Thoroughbred Safety Committee. “The testing of these samples may result in positive test results, which can then be used as probable cause for the future collection of test samples from racehorses with the same owner, trainer or attending veterinarian.”
Janney also said that an accumulation of positive test results by the same owner, trainer or attending veterinarian could be considered “aggravating circumstances” in the determinations of fines and suspensions in accordance with existing RMTC penalty recommendations, which were adopted as Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) Model Rules in 2006.
Dr. Rick Arthur, a member of the RMTC executive committee, said that the RMTC Scientific Advisory Committee, in cooperation with state racing commissions, will select up to five participating laboratories for the RMTC Frozen Sample Retrospective Testing Program, including Dr. Don Catlin’s Anti-Doping Research laboratory in Los Angeles.
Dr. Catlin founded the first anti-doping lab in the United States, the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, and served as its director for 25 years. He has overseen drug testing at every level of sport, including Olympic, professional and collegiate, and he and his team are responsible for pioneering many of the drug identification techniques currently used in human drug testing. He has been involved with Thoroughbred racing since the formation of the Equine Drug Research Institute in 2005.
The Thoroughbred Safety Committee was formed in May 2008 to review every facet of equine health, including breeding practices, medication, the rules of racing and track surfaces, and to recommend actions to be taken by the industry to improve the health and safety of Thoroughbreds. Additional information about the TSC, including the entire text of all seven recommendations made to date, is available in the “Safety Initiatives” section of The Jockey Club website (www.jockeyclub.com).
The RMTC was formed in 2001 to ensure the fairness and integrity of racing and the health and welfare of racehorses and participants, and to protect the interests of the racing public. Additional information about RMTC is available at www.rmtcnet.com.
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