12/18/2014 3:54PM

Racing Medication and Testing Consortium declines merger proposal


The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium has declined a proposal to merge with the Association of Racing Commissioners International, citing “the importance of maintaining an independent and apolitical” organization to conduct medication research.

The executive committee of the RMTC met on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the proposal, which was proffered by the RCI on Monday. The RCI contended that the merger would streamline the process to develop medication rules in racing and eliminate criticisms of how the RMTC has conducted scientific reviews.

Though the statement from the RMTC did not state that it was rejecting the merger proposal outright, the language of the statement made it clear that the RMTC would continue to go about its work. The RMTC is funded by a broad cross-section of industry organizations, and its board includes representatives of nearly every racing constituency.

“The RMTC continues to welcome scientific input and review from the RCI and others during the scientific advisory process to further the RMTC’s mission of ensuring the fairness and integrity of racing and the health and welfare of racehorses and participants, and to protect the interests of the racing public,” the statement said.

This October, the RMTC board voted to reorganize its Scientific Advisory Committee to address some of the criticisms that have been lobbed at the group. Much of the criticism has come from some vocal members of the training and veterinary communities.

At the same time that the RCI made the offer to merge, the group also announced that it would form its own scientific advisory board to review research on medication for the purposes of devising medication rules. That has been one of the primary functions of the RMTC, which also distributes some of its annual budget for scientific studies on drugs.