04/02/2013 5:31PM

Racing commissioners agree on 24 approved drugs


Racing Commissioners International on Tuesday gave its final approval to a list of recommended regulations covering 24 drugs that will be allowed to be administered to racehorses for therapeutic purposes, capping a two-year effort to set the stage for the potential adoption of uniform rules on the substances.

The RCI, which is an umbrella group for state racing commissions, has been working with various industry groups to develop the regulations, in the hopes of uniting all 38 parimutuel racing jurisdictions in the United States under one set of rules on therapeutic drugs. The rules will still need to be adopted by individual racing commissions to go into effect. Eight states in the mid-Atlantic, including New York and Maryland, have already pledged to adopt the rules by the end of the year.

The RCI has been spearheading the effort to develop the rules while working with a number of other industry organizations, including the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. Several horsemen's groups, however, have indicated that they would like more time to study the regulations before pledging to support them, which could complicate adoption in certain states.

In a release, the RCI acknowledged that horsemen still have concerns about environmental contamination, which refers to certain prohibited drugs, such as scopolamine, caffeine, or cocaine, showing up in postrace tests as the result of accidental ingestion. The RCI said that the organization planned to discuss the concerns with horsemen at its conference on April 23 in New Orleans.

The  RCI also said that it will begin to hold discussions at the conference on revising penalty guidelines for prohibited drugs, the second phase of the plan to unify rules across racing jurisdictions.

Under the regulations, specific concentrations of the 24 drugs on the list will be allowed to appear in postrace samples at levels that are not considered to be pharmacologically significant, or unable to affect the horse's performance on race day. The exception is the anti-bleeding medication furosemide, which will be allowed to be administered up to four hours before a race. Furosemide, commonly known as Lasix, is currently legal to be administered in all U.S. states on race day.

Seventeen of the 24 drugs include commonly used painkillers, anti-inflammatories, and treatments for lung and gastrointestinal ailments. The other seven include more powerful drugs that are used to treat specific injuries, and penalties for an overage of those drugs will be more severe than for the other 17 drugs.

All other drugs will be prohibited from appearing in post-race samples at any concentration.


jeff More than 1 year ago
clem is not a drug to mask pain, its a broncho dilator.... lets face it these athletes are 1000 pounds running on pencil thin legs...i'm guessing that horse cents is just to cheap to buy clem for his horses!
Nathan More than 1 year ago
how do you accidently ingest cocaine? are the grooms coked up? the trainers ?
Mike B More than 1 year ago
Keep making the incremental changes. Ideally, handicapper interest may even prompt transparency--the Hong Kong--model with all injuries and medications listed with the PP's. Clenbuterol is one of the big ones (I am going to check that level now).
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Did I just read that horsemen are concerned that a horse might accidentally ingest cocaine? Please print the drug list. Clenbuterol should not be allowed. Test for blood doping.
Becky R More than 1 year ago
You know what makes me mad,is that ALOT of people DO NOT understand that most ALL horses have injuries of some type. This has ALOT to do with PUSHING these VERY YOUNG horses that does NOT have strong bone development.NO BABY needs to be broken let alone running at 2 years of age. This is a cruel treatment and to ask those horses to perform without any medications is unspeakable. I wonder how many of you people take aspirin to make it through the day or to have joint or muscle pain from over doing something. These horses are asked to run through pain. I do DISAGREE with medications that mask pain to where the horse will run until he snaps a leg or medications that hype one up, but, come on people do NOT talk about something you know NOTHING about. All you hear is how we mistreat or over medicate, thank you to ALL the media for NOT knowing what what really goes on...noone knows unless they do this for a living. If the media wants to write something, follow some thoroughbreds around from the time they are foaled until they race, let's see how the story and the press changes...
jeff More than 1 year ago
lol come on matt.... great story but why would you not list the drugs that are approved?
mikey More than 1 year ago
Now all they have to do is get the trainer's to go along with it.Every trainer when getting a license schould sign a letter and agreeing to fines and time on the bench.Well it look's on paper that the game will be cleaned up by a small amount.(we can only hope)
Nathan More than 1 year ago
mandatory surprise lie detector tests for every licensed person.
mikey More than 1 year ago
At the track the machine would blow up every day.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
this is all a joke if you allow the masking agent lasix then you allow all the other stuff.