04/20/2011 3:34PM

NTRA, vets, medication consortium plan meeting


The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the Association of Equine Practitioners, and the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium plan to hold a meeting this summer to discuss issues revolving around race-day medication, the three organizations said on Wednesday.

The meeting – which has yet to be scheduled – is the latest development on the issue of raceday medication following a widely supported call at the end of March by officials of the Association of Racing Commissioners International to ban the use of furosemide and other anti-bleeding medications on race day.

The sponsors of the meeting represent a wide array of constituencies in racing. The NTRA is a marketing and lobbying organization, and the medication consortium is a research organization that makes recommendations on drug-testing and medication policies. Both are funded by tracks, racing organizations, and horsemen’s groups. The AAEP is a trade group that represents equine veterinarians.

Alex Waldrop, the chief executive officer of the NTRA, said that the organizers of the summit would hope to “ensure that all stake-holders are included in the dialogue so that the ultimate conclusions are based on an objective evaluation of the facts.”

Though the call to ban raceday medications has been endorsed by a wide variety of racing regulatory organizations and trade groups, the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, which represents local horsemen’s affiliates, has urged caution on the effort. It has scheduled its own summer convention in late July to discuss the impacts of a ban.

Equine practitioners, who administer furosemide and other raceday drugs for trainers, are also expected to push back against the effort.

“Our chief concern is for the health and welfare of the horse, and ensuring the integrity and vitality of the sport,” said the AAEP’s executive director, David Foley.