02/11/2015 1:16PM

OBS restricts use of drugs, whips

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The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. will begin implementing the Association of Racing Commissioners International guidelines for the use of controlled therapeutic medications on juveniles entered in its sales. The sale company also adjusted its policies to restrict the use of whips, beginning with the under-tack show for the March sale of 2-year-olds in training.

The first stage of the implementation will include adopting the ARCI medication schedule for the administration of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – drugs such as phenylbutazone, commonly known as bute, and flunxin, which goes by the trade name Banamine – and bronchodilators. OBS will adopt the entire ARCI medication schedule by the 2016 juvenile sale season.

“In addition to existing state regulations, random testing during our breeze shows has been in effect for many years, including OBS restrictions that limit the use of medications and prohibit the use of all Class 1 and Class 2 drugs, Salix, and procaine penicillin,” said OBS president Tom Ventura. “Adding the ARCI guidelines will enhance our current policy and promote the movement toward uniform race-day medication rules throughout the country.”

Many racing states have adopted or are in the process of adopting the ARCI’s model rules. A bill to implement the model rules in Florida has been introduced in the state Senate and House of Representatives.

“OBS fully supports the bill being considered by the Florida legislature at the upcoming legislative session,” said OBS chairman Mike O’Farrell. “It is incumbent upon leaders in the industry to take steps to implement policies that promote and protect the integrity of the game. This is a step in the right direction.”

OBS also modified its policy for the use of a riding crop at under-tack shows, with the changes going into effect at the March juvenile sale.

At any time during a breeze, a rider may only use the whip while both hands are holding the reins, and the rider may not strike the horse behind the girth. Additionally, a rider is prohibited from striking a horse in any manner beyond the finish line during the gallop-out. In situations where the safety of the horse or rider is in jeopardy, a riding crop may be used in front of the girth. Excessive whipping before the beginning of the work or in preparation for a breeze is prohibited.

The OBS March sale will be held March 17-18, beginning each day at 11 a.m. Eastern. The presale under-tack show will be March 11-13, starting at 8 a.m. each day.