Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (7/22/13)
Medication Policy Reform Up Before Illinois Racing Board on Thursday at Arlington
ITHA, ILHBPA and IHHA in Support
Dear Fellow Horseman:
The Illinois Racing Board on Thursday will consider a proposed uniform medication and drug testing policy that would ensure our horsemen compete on a level playing field in all the nation's racing jurisdictions adopting identical rules.
Illinois horsemen are encouraged to attend this meeting, which is open and will begin at 10:30 am in the 5th Floor Meeting Room - West at Arlington. Dr. Dionne Benson and Dr. Rick Sams from RMTC are expected to appear and testify in support.
I plan to testify in support as well, as will Glen Berman, the ITHA Executive Director and General Counsel.
This uniform policy, already adopted by nine other states, will provide our horses and riders with an unprecedented level of protection and offer a new measure of assurance to our fans.
The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association spearheaded this initiative in Illinois after several of our trainers expressed concern about the absence of a uniform policy, and our ITHA Board has enthusiastically - and unanimously - endorsed this policy. The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association and the Illinois Horsemen Benevolent & Protective Association also support this initiative.
For your review, I have included below a column I authored for the June edition of Illinois Racing News. In this column, I explain the critical importance of Illinois taking a leadership role on this initiative to impose stronger safeguards for equine safety and support the integrity of racing across all American racing jurisdictions.
The ITHA looks forward to advocating for the IRB's favorable consideration of this uniform policy when the Board convenes this Thursday. Thank you for your continued support.
President, Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association
ITHA Supports National Uniformity of Medication Policy to Provide Stronger Safeguards for Equine Safety and Bolster the Integrity of Racing
By Mike Campbell
Travel the 38 racing jurisdictions in the United States and experience 38 different protocols governing medication use and drug testing.
The medley of conflict causes not just confusion among horsemen, but puts owners and trainers in professional jeopardy. If a horseman violates the rules of racing in a given state, it can mean disqualification, loss of the purse, and penalties against the trainer - including, possibly, license suspension. What's more, violations are reciprocal across states. If you get a violation in one state, it will be held against you in another - possibly with substantially different fines or penalties.
The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association strongly urges Illinois and the other 37 states to adopt a proposed uniform medication and drug testing policy, ensuring all jurisdictions use the same protocol for medication use and drug testing. Nine states have already pledged to adopt this uniform medication policy, and the Illinois Racing Board in June or July is expected to consider doing the same.
Jan. 1, 2014, is the target implementation date for the uniform policy.
Uniformity will ensure our horsemen compete on a level playing field in all the jurisdictions that adopt identical rules. Additionally, it will provide our horses and riders with an unprecedented level of protection and offer a new measure of assurance to our fans.
"This new uniform medication and testing program represents the most significant change in racing in more than 30 years," said Alan M. Foreman, Chairman of the national Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, which spearheaded this program. "It is designed to protect the safety and welfare of the horse and rider while at the same time limiting the use of medication, providing guidance to horsemen to ensure compliance, creating a uniform regulatory system and ensuring the integrity of our races for the benefit of our fans. I applaud the ITHA for taking a leadership role in this effort."
The proposed rules would classify medications in two categories - controlled therapeutic substances and prohibited substances - and then create a points system for violations. Trainers would be assessed points based on the severity of the violation, and multiple violations would lead to tougher sanctions. Points relating to therapeutic medications could then be expunged from a trainer's record, while points relating to more serious, performance-enhancing drugs would stay on the trainer's record.
Any substance not included on the approved list would be considered prohibited. Prohibited medications could not be present in a post-race sample at any level or at a level exceeding defined limits. All medications on the approved list are FDA-approved for equine practitioners.
Approved medications would include: Acepromazine, Betamethasone, Butorphanol, Clenbuterol, Dantrolene, Detomidine, Dexamethasone, Diclofenac, DMSO, Firocoxib, Flunixin, Furosemide, Glycopyrrolate, Ketoprofen, Lidocaine, Mepivacaine, Methocarbamol, Methylprednisolone, Omeprazole, Phenylbutazone, Prednisolone, Procaine Penicillin, Triamcinolone Acetonide and Xylazine. Visit rmtcnet.com for more information, including the recommended withdrawal times.
Under the proposal, all laboratories would need to be accredited by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and would need to use the same testing procedures.
The ITHA is dedicated to ensuring the integrity, safety, and health of those involved in horse racing, and promoting, encouraging and developing all facets of our sport. We strongly support this plan to impose stronger safeguards for equine safety and for the integrity of racing.
We're hopeful that all 38 racing jurisdictions will adopt this uniform policy, and that Illinois will take a leadership role - by first adopting it, and then encouraging others to do the same.
We believe uniformity will give more credibility and accountability to medication policy in Illinois and across the country in the states that adopt this policy. We look forward to presenting our case before the Illinois Racing Board.
Mike Campbell is President of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and Treasurer of the national Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. To ensure you're receiving ITHA updates on this and other critical matters, send your contact information - name, phone, email address and postal address - to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also see news updates posted at itharacing.com.
A version of this message was published in the June edition of Illinois Racing News in the form of President Campbell's monthly column.