04/03/2015 10:42AM

Ohio horsemen push for separate medication rules for Standardbreds, Thoroughbreds


Representatives of Thoroughbred and harness horsemen’s groups told the Ohio State Racing Commission this week that they would press the commission to adopt separate medication rules for each breed, according to a description of the meeting provided by commission officials.

The Ohio commission is expected this year to adopt model rules recommended by Thoroughbred racing organizations that would align the state with approximately a dozen other states in the U.S. While some other states’ efforts to adopt the model rules have been complicated by resistance from harness horsemen to racing under the Thoroughbred rules, the effort in Ohio might not face the same problems due to the agreement by horsemen that separate rules should apply.

“Our issues are different, and our horses are as well,” said Mike Tanner, the executive director of the U.S. Trotting Association, according to the commission.

The Thoroughbred rules would allow for the regulated use of 26 therapeutic medications and restrict race-day furosemide administrations to regulatory vets. The rules are seen by many Thoroughbred organizations as critical to addressing shortcomings in racing’s drug-testing practices, and they have already been adopted in most major racing states.

Harness horsemen in many states have objected to the Thoroughbred rules on the grounds that some restrictions on therapeutic medications should be loosened based on the frequency with which Standardbred horses typically race. The most prominent objection has revolved around the Thoroughbred rules’ strict regulations over the administration of clenbuterol, a bronchodilator that can be used to build muscle mass when administered frequently.

The racing commission is next scheduled to meet April 28. At that meeting, the commission will hear testimony from veterinarians and scientists on medication issues, the commission said.