02/09/2017 2:53PM

RMTC recommends adopting threshold levels for glaucine


An influential racing policy group has recommended that racing commissions adopt threshold levels for the prohibited medication glaucine, citing evidence that the substance can be ingested by horses through environmental contamination.

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium recommended the adoption of the threshold levels after a committee set up to study recent positives for the substance revealed that it is present in some bulk shavings that are scattered in horses’ stalls. The committee was established after positives for the substance turned up early last year in horses trained by several high-profile Standardbred trainers.

Glaucine is not available in any FDA-approved product in the U.S., but it can be obtained in various injectable forms at online pharmacies, which typically have dubious credentials in the racing industry. The substance is marketed as a cough suppressant, and at large doses, it can produce hallucinogenic effects.

When the positives were announced last year, some in racing questioned whether large numbers of trainers were illegally using the drug, considering the positives occurred in a spate in New York. The RMTC recommendation suggests instead that the trace levels found in the tests last year were the result of horses ingesting bulk shavings. Along with the threshold levels, the RMTC recommended that trainers remove horses from environments with bulk shavings at least 24 hours prior to racing.

Despite the establishment of threshold levels, glaucine will remain prohibited to use in racing. While environmental contamination of the substance would test below the threshold level, the RMTC said, relatively large deliberate doses of the drug would test above the level, resulting in a Class B penalty violation for a first offense.