09/10/2004 12:00AM

Drug panel wants $5 per start


The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium approved a proposal on Thursday to assess a $5 per-start fee on every horse in North America in order to fund its research budget. The approval came at a meeting of the group in Lexington, Ky., the executive director of the panel, Dr. Scot Waterman, said Friday.

The fee would raise about $4.5 million a year, Waterman said, based on an estimated 900,000 starts each year by Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, and Quarter Horses.

Waterman said a timetable for when the fees will begin to be assessed has not been set.

Also at the meeting, the consortium formed a subcommittee to develop a rule that would address "milkshaking" in horses. Milkshakes are concoctions of bicarbonate of soda and electrolytes that are rumored to be in use in both Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing.

The consortium also elected Dan Fick, the executive director of The Jockey Club, as its chairman.