Updated on 09/16/2011 7:10AM

RCI panels to address drugs


The increasingly thorny topic of drugs and drug-testing will be discussed by racing regulators at a panel discussion on Sunday morning in New York.

The panel, part of the Association of Racing Commissioners International's annual convention, has been split up into two parts. The first half will feature three formal presentations. During the second half, a handful of leading regulators have been asked to discuss the presentations and make additional observations, RCI officials said.

Dr. C. Wayne McIlwraith, the past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and Dr. Scot Waterman, the executive director of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Drug Testing Task Force, are both scheduled to give presentations. McIlwraith and Waterman are both leaders in the ongoing effort to develop uniform medication rules in the United States.

Panelists are expected to provide updates on that effort, which has stalled recently because of the departure of a leading NTRA executive and the mounting opposition of Kentucky horsemen to a rollback of that state's medication rules.

The NTRA executive, Jim Gallagher, resigned as executive director of the drug task force in late March to take a job with the New York Racing Association. The Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, meanwhile, released a survey this week in which 91 percent of the respondents said they favored Kentucky's current rules. The surveys were sent to KHBPA members, along with a letter of support for the rules from Dr. Alex Harthill, president of the association.

Kentucky's regulations are considered the most liberal in the country, and most people behind the uniform medication effort believe that a consensus cannot be reached without Kentucky reconsidering its rules.

Robert Stallings, a racing commissioner in Kentucky and the chairman of the Kentucky Equine Drug Council, is one of four regulators scheduled to appear on the second half of the panel. The others are Norm Barron from Ohio, Dr. Ron Jensen from California, and Frank Zanzuccki from New Jersey.