Updated on 09/16/2011 7:43AM

HBPA asks states for drug poll


State affiliates of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association have agreed to issue individual opinions on which drugs should be considered appropriate to administer on race day, participants at the NHBPA's conference in Las Vegas said on Thursday.

In a motion adopted by the national HBPA medication committee and its board, the affiliates each agreed to examine "select Class 4 and Class 5 medications." Class 4 and Class 5 drugs are therapeutic medications that are thought to have little or no performance-enhancing characteristics.

The intent of the effort, participants said, is for the national HBPA to poll its affiliates on appropriate raceday drugs and adopt a national policy as part of the ongoing, industry-wide effort to reach agreement on uniform medication rules.

"They want each of us to take a stance on what each affiliate wants to do," said Kent Stirling, the chairman of the national HBPA's medication committee and the executive director of the Florida HBPA. "We really don't have an answer as one body."

Stirling said the motion was offered by representatives of the Kentucky HBPA, an organization that has criticized the uniform-rules movement. Specifically, the Kentucky HBPA has objected to language adopted by a large cross-section of industry officials in December that would restrict raceday medication to Lasix, the popular diuretic that is used to treat bleeding in the lungs.

One leading drug-testing official who participated in the December meeting criticized the NHBPA motion for undermining the adopted language by calling for a new debate on a closed subject.

"This thing is going nowhere again," the official said, referring to the uniform-rules effort.

The December group, which was originally brought together by the American Association of Equine Practitioners, is continuing to press forward, now under the direction of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's drug-testing and medication task force.

This week, Jim Gallagher, the head of the task force, and Dr. Scot Waterman, the task force's director of methods and procedures, issued a four-page memorandum to participants in the December meeting identifying areas for the group to focus on. The 33-member group plans to meet by conference call on Jan. 28.