12/03/2013 12:31PM

Medication group addresses Standardbred regulations


Regulations governing the use of anti-inflammatory corticosteroids and the bronchial dilator clenbuterol should be the same for both Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium said on Tuesday after releasing two papers examining the effects of the drugs in both breeds.

Regulations governing the use of corticosteroids and clenbuterol have become a contentious issue with Standardbred horsemen since the RMTC approved recommendations calling for longer withdrawal times for the drugs. In September, the United States Trotting Association dropped out of the RMTC, citing the organization’s support for the new policies, which call for a seven-day withdrawal period for intra-articular administrations of corticosteroids and a 14-day withdrawal for clenbuterol.

One of the papers released on Tuesday stated that the ability of corticosteroids to mask pain and erode joint tissue when administered intra-articularly justified the RMTC’s decision to recommend the longer withdrawal times. The other paper said that clenbuterol should also be more tightly regulated because of its ability to build muscle mass when used regularly. Both papers said there were no physiological differences between Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds that would justify separate regulations.

Standardbred horsemen have argued that the new restrictions on the drugs would effectively ban their use in training because Standardbreds typically race once every week. The RMTC has countered that the intra-articular use of corticosteroids and the administration of clenbuterol would indicate that a horse has problems that should preclude it from racing within the withdrawal-time period.