08/20/2014 12:52PM

RCI establishes penalties for 'stacking' painkillers


The Association of Racing Commissioners International has approved language in its model rules defining “stacking” of painkillers and providing for new penalties for the practice, the RCI announced Wednesday.

Stacking refers to the use of multiple painkillers in order to get a stronger effect than when using a single drug. Under the current model rules, painkillers such a phenylbutazone are illegal to administer within 48 hours of a race, but the RCI said it is concerned that some trainers may be using small amounts of several drugs outside the legal window “to deliberately try to circumvent the restrictions.”

The new language creates three classes of penalties for stacking of the drugs, based on the concentrations of individual drugs found in post-race samples. The penalties would require suspensions, fines, and loss of purse.

The language was approved during a meeting of the RCI at Del Mar. The model rules are recommendations to state racing commissions, and most states need to take individual action to put the rules in force.