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Lexington, KY --- The 2020 Annual Racing Integrity and Equine Welfare Conference of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI), scheduled for April 7-10, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA is being cancelled as a result of the public health concerns associated with the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. For more information about ARCI, please visit www.arci.com. by Rebecca Shoemaker, for the ARCI  

This articlecolumn was written by John Pricci for Horseracinginsider.com.  Once again, the Thoroughbred racing industry is at loggerheads, only this time appearing before a Congressional Subcommittee hearing which has held these types of inquiries before but perhaps none as meaningful. Never has the industry faced an existential crisis of major proportions. “Too big to fail” is no longer a justifiable defense for a sport whose end-product is more about the sales ring than what happens between the fences. Everyone knows why this is happening, even though some version of the Horseracing Integrity Act has been kicking around since 2015 which, by Capitol Hill standards, is the blink of an eye. On one side people are fighting hard for the lives of horses and the men and women who ride them. On the other are champions of the upperdog who invoke the health of the bottom line in order to maintain the status quo. The solutions proposed by the latter never go quite far enough. What replaces doing the right thing is to question process, making a call for compromise knowing all too well that patchwork unity has never worked. This ersatz search for middle ground is the same kind of hypocrisy practiced by those in Washington who would save the country’s top executive at the cost of a democratic republic. But I digress. As was widely reported in racing publications, Bloodhorse and the Thoroughbred Daily News, to name just two, speaking for the health of the living and breathing was a Hall of Fame jockey who won over 7,000 races. Another advocating for the Horseracing Integrity Act was the former CEO of the Maryland Jockey Club who is now an advisor to the Humane Society of America. In favor of those who hesitate to turn a page and would keep the present frozen in time is a person whose organization would become anachronistic if legislation is enacted, and another who represents a group that would take an economic hit if raceday medication were eliminated. The bipartisan bill – which in this climate should put the legislation over the top without further discussion – would have the United States Anti-Doping Agency form an authority including major industry players to regulate medication rules, policies, testing and sanctions. Indeed, the elephant in the room that H.R. 1754 would attempt to carry across the finish line is the elimination of raceday medication, legal and otherwise, a policy that would end the use of Lasix in competition. “Instead of giving the animal the rest it needs, a trainer can rely on his/her veterinarian to administer a medication to mask pain by reducing inflammation caused by an injury,” said Chris McCarron. “This bill directly addresses one of the leading causes of breakdowns.” “The bar for effectively detecting and punishing cheaters is so low that it is difficult to fail,” reasoned Joe DeFrancis. “Each trainer knows what they’re being tested for and when they are being tested. There is little if any out-of-competition testing, the kind of testing that has proven so effective in catching athletes who dope in Olympic sports,” DeFrancis concluded. In favor of maintaining the 38-state patchwork with enhancements and modifications, effectively protecting the franchise, was Ed Martin, President of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. “I don’t think this bill as presently written is going to improve the integrity of the sport,” said Martin. “But I think it would improve the integrity of the sport if it were to take [a non-governmental organization and turn it into a multi-jurisdictional investigative organization] to do out-of-competition testing as well as out-of-competition suitability exams that are red-flagged because of their vet records and procedures.” Promises of meaningful enhancements puts lipstick on the same-old pig even if the stricter protocols advanced by Santa Anita’s management group has enjoyed statistical success with improved protocols. And at least the company continues to walk its talk; as the Lasix-less Pegasus Cup proved. The Thoroughbred industry has had decades to police itself and clean up its act. But if it were not for the fact that 37 horses lost their lives last winter at Santa Anita, the raceday medication elephant would remain in a lockbox. After the hearing concluded, the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, comprised of a 14-member majority of leading Thoroughbred stakeholders and racetracks, issued a statement re continuing industry-led advanced safety measures with a promise to enact meaningful change. But the industry has had decades to accomplish these goals. The major group yet to endorse medication reform is the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, who use their veto power to stop simulcasting in its tracks. The final version of HIA must address this roadblock. Absent independent national uniformity, no effort to clean up the game will succeed in a meaningful way. If there’s a segment of horse racing that has reason to embrace the status quo on raceday medication it’s the harness racing industry, which did not get a seat at the table. Indeed, Mike Tanner, Executive Vice-President of the United States Trotting Association, was interviewed but not selected to appear. And the irony is that harness horse owners will pay more than Thoroughbred counterparts to fund the proposed commission established by the possible legislation. With an anticipated $43-45 per-start fee, and with the average Standardbred racing 18 times per year on average, compared to six for Thoroughbreds, it will cost harness owners more. There are other fundamentals to have different rules for different breeds considering the routine way each sport is conducted. Many harness juveniles, e.g., begin their careers without Lasix though they gravitate to it with age. The ARCI, which passed 12 harness specific model-rules amendments last August in Saratoga, acknowledges that separate standards may be appropriate. Statistics indicate that Standardbreds sustain three times the damage of Thoroughbreds in the course of a racing year and can race until age 14. Both breeds train and race with Lasix, but “training miles” are a routine part of maintaining condition in Standardbreds. As in Thoroughbred racing, most violations are a result of therapeutic medication overages. But unlike the crop flap at Santa Anita last season, sanctions for whipping violations and kicking that abuse the animal, as well as dangerous interference infractions have existed. Racetracks in various states for either breed fail to report catastrophic injuries. But the USTA has statistics for both breeds that, according to the California Horse Racing Board database, are eye-opening. A decade’s worth of statistics was compiled from 2009 through 2018. [Thoroughbred starters in 2009 were estimated at 45,000]. During this period all Standardbreds made 83,592 starts at Cal-Expo, compared to 381,531 Thoroughbred starters state-wide. There were 914 Thoroughbred fatalities during this time. While the numbers have improved markedly since, that translates to 2.40 deaths per 1000 starters. The Standardbred ledger shows seven fatalities. In five of the 10 years, there were no fatalities; the mortality rate was 0.08 per 1000 starters. Given that Standardbreds annually race three times more often, raceday medication in harness racing seems to be working as intended, therapeutically. Thoroughbred racing if a different game, of course. “Let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the good; we need to take action right away,” DeFrancis added. “Every day we delay we’re losing more and more public support, more and more fans, more and more customers. And it’s getting that much more difficult to get them back.” Said HIA co-sponsor Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY): “We’re all in theory talking about the same goals, and yet each of you [who testified against it] opposes the very piece of legislation that would make [uniformity] a reality instead of a tired talking point.”

Lexington, KY - At its most recent meeting in Tucson, AZ, the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI), approved 10 amendments to the Model Rules and set aside final action on other pending matters needing further work. The ARCI adopted tougher policies on NSAIDs and interarticular joint injections and kept open the possibility for further limits on phenylbutazone based upon some indications that the newly adopted 48-hour restriction may not be consistent with current research yet to be provided the Association. The Association also approved in principal dramatically increasing sanctions for violations considered to be "doping" and "equine endangerment", pending further work on regulatory definitions and rule drafting. The Drug Testing Standards and Practices (DTSP) committee was tasked to make final recommendation in time for the April 2020 meeting. The ARCI Board of Directors approved the following Model Rule amendments: Amendment to ARCI-011-020 MEDICATIONS AND PROHIBITED SUBSTANCES (E) which prohibits the administration of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory medications to horses within forty-eight hours of a race Amendment to ARCI-011-020 MEDICATIONS AND PROHIBITED SUBSTANCES (F) wherein a horse is ineligible to race in a flat race for 14 days after an intra-articular joint injection Amendment to ARCI-010-030 HORSES INELIGIBLE (10) wherein any horse in flat or jump racing will be ineligible to race if it has received an intra-articular injection in the preceding 14 days and stacking is prohibited Amendment to ARCI-011-015 PROHIBITED PRACTICES by adding a new subsection prohibiting the use of bisphosphonates in any horse younger than 4. The bisphosphonates must be FDA approved, administered according to instructions, and only used to treat navicular disease Amendment to ARCI-011-020 MEDICATIONS AND PROHIBITED SUBSTANCES (B) by dramatically increasing penalties considered to be violations in "doping" and "equine endangerment" Amendment to ARCI-010-020 WEIGHTS by altering weight allowances for jockeys riding 3-year-olds facing older horses and for 3-year-old horses facing older horses Amendment to ARCI-011-015 PROHIBITED PRACTICES (6C), by adding subsection (D) outlining under which circumstances other than laboratory testing a horse's blood can be drawn and by adding subsection (F) prohibiting chemical or immunocastration Amendment to ARCI-004-024 (K) PARI-MUTUEL WAGERING by adding language to address wagering opportunities in races with three or more horses. A proposed amendment to ARCI-010-035 RUNNING OF THE RACE - USE OF THE RIDING CROP (E) was referred to the Rider and Driver Safety Committee to be considered along with alternative proposals being submitted. The ARCI also added several substances to its Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances and made a technical correction to its Bylaws to clarify that automatic seats on its Board of Directors are to be based on the number of live horse racing days being regulated. The full updated version of the Model Rules and all associated schedule updates will be formally published by January 1, 2020. Information concerning the items that were considered, but not necessarily adopted in final form, can be downloaded at www.arcimodelrules.online . The ARCI Model Rules form the foundation of the racing regulatory scheme in most jurisdictions. In some cases, the regulatory authorities or jurisdictions have, in the interest of uniformity, formally required adherence to the ARCI Model Rule standards affecting various subject matters. The ARCI is a member of the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities and is an active participant in the development of international standards. For more information on the Model Rules and about ARCI, please visit www.arci.com. by Rebecca Shoemaker, for the Association of Racing Commissioners International  

The agenda and supporting materials for the upcoming ARCI Model Rules Committee meeting are now available. Use the button below to access the committee's website: arcimodelrules.online. The ARCI Model Rules Committee meeting will take place at the Westin LaPaloma Resort, Tucson, Arizona, USA on Thursday, December 12, 2019 at 1:30pm - 5:00pm. If you have yet to register for the meeting, you may do so at no-cost by using the link below. Please note that the meeting agenda is subject to modification. Additional notifications will be made as necessary. ARCI Model Rules Committee Meeting Agenda and Materials REGISTER (no cost) FOR THE MEETING   From the ARCI

Lexington, KY --- On Thursday (Nov. 14) the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) announced the selection of Rick Goodell to chair the organization's Regulatory Attorney's Committee. The appointment was made by RCI Chair Dr. Corrine Sweeney. Goodell, currently Associate Counsel for the New York Gaming Commission, a position he has held for a decade, brings more than two decades of experience to his new post. A longtime prosecutor, Goodell is a recognized expert in prosecuting racing drug violations. He was Co-Chair of the Model Rules Committee and is currently Chair of the National Racing Compact, an interstate agency of racing regulatory agencies that facilitates the multi-jurisdictional licensing of owners and trainers. After obtaining his undergraduate degree from William College in Political Economy, Goodell procured his law degree from the Columbia University School of Law in 1987. Sandwiched between two stints practicing privately, Goodell was a prosecutor for the Chautauqua County (NY) District Attorney's Office. In 1995, Goodell became Assistant Attorney General for the New York State Attorney General's Office where he was responsible for managing defense litigation involving New York State in Court of Claims. Goodell took his current position in 1999 and his duties involve equine drug and other gaming adjudications, equine drug rules and providing legal advice. He is also responsible for daily horse racing legal issues for regulation of Standardbred and Thoroughbred racetracks including oversight of rulings and investigations. A recipient of the ARCI Exemplary Service Award, Goodell is the co-author of the 2013 Travers Stakes and 2015 Asmussen reports and 2010 S3022A and KRS § 230.3761 (Interstate Compact). Goodell has also been a guest speaker on a number of equine issues at various venues for the last 10 years. "This is a key position within the ARCI and we are honored Rick has agreed to accept it," said ARCI President, Ed Martin. For more information about the role of the Regulatory Attorney's Committee and/or ARCI, please visit www.arci.com. From the ARCI            

Lexington, KY --- At its most recent quarterly meeting in Saratoga Springs in August the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI), reviewed 19 amendments to the Model Rules. The Model Rules have been updated with the amendments the board of directors passed on Aug. 9. The amendments include adjustments where horse(s) are positioned behind the starting gate for two-tiered races and the use of wheel disks, mud fenders and mud aprons for sulkies. Recall rules were adjusted to clarify and determine starting violations, as well as when drivers in harness racing should be cleared to compete after requiring medical attention on or off the track. Harness racing at fairs will require horses(s) to reach an identifiable starting pole prior to the beginning of a race per the starter. Other amendments were instituted including driver violations during a race is and how drivers were substituted for competition. In addition, the term "extended break" is now more clearly defined and so are the circumstances for drivers that charge the gate. Also, in any/all Standardbred races, drivers will be allowed to use black whips not to exceed four (4) feet in total length, with a snapper not longer than six (6) inches. For more information on the Model Rules and about ARCI, please click here. From the Association of Racing Commissioners International

The ARCI Classification and Penalty Guidelines classify scopolamine as a Class 4, Penalty Class C drug. According to the penalty guidelines, if this drug is found in a post race sample, the horse is to be disqualified and the owner loses the purse in the absence of mitigating circumstances. The exact language reads: “Disqualification and loss of purse in the absence of mitigating circumstances. Horse must pass commission-approved examination before being eligible to run.”  The ARCI has no direct knowledge of the specifics of the case involving Justify and does not assume the actions of the CHRB are inconsistent with the Model Rules standard. It is incumbent on the CHRB to release to the public as much information about why the recommended penalty mitigation was justified in order to lay to rest questions concerning this matter and to reinforce public confidence in its actions.  From Ed Martin of the ARCI          

Lexington, KY ---At its most recent meeting in Saratoga Springs earlier this month the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI), approved twelve amendments to the Model Rules pertaining to Standardbred harness racing and set aside final action on other pending items for further review. The ARCI Board of Directors approved the following amendments. The proposals were submitted by the United States Trotting Association, many of which were adopted without change: Amendment: ARCI-024-036 RACING RULES regarding two-tiered races; Amendment to ARCI-024-030 EQUIPMENT (A) Sulkies to include the use of wheel discs, mud fenders and mud aprons; Amendment to ARCI-021-020 FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT (G) DISTANCE MARKERS (4) with regard to the fair start pole; Interim Changes to ARCI-024-036 RACING RULES (K) Use of the Whip; Amendment to ARCI-024-035 RACING RULES by adding new subsection Disorderly Conduct; Amendment to ARCI-024-036 RACING RULES by adding new subsection to include "charging the gate" as a violation; Amendment to ARCI-019-010 Terms by adding new subsection to define the term "extended break"; Amendment to ARCI-024-036 RACING RULES (J)(18) Conduct of the Race in regard to a horse breaking from its gait; Amendment to ARCI-024-036 RACING RULES, D (Recall Rules) by adding additional subsections in regard to starting violations; Amendment to ARCI-022-030 Drivers - adding new subsection to require medical clearance for a driver involved in an incident requiring medical attention, whether on or off the track; Amendment to ARCI-024-036 RACING RULES (J)(1) and (13) Conduct of the Race with regard to driving violations; Amendment to ARCI-024-036 RACING RULES (J) Conduct of the Race with regard to the substitution of drivers. The ARCI set aside consideration of a proposal from the Racing Officials Accreditation Program affecting automatic removal from various regulatory lists. The regulators will seek additional clarification from the Stewards Advisory Committee concerning the reasons they see for this proposal as there are usually requirements associated with the removal from the Stewards List and such actions are not automatic. Additional concerns were raised at the meeting about recent revelations that horses were able to be removed from the Vets List lists maintained by InCompass solutions by unauthorized non-regulatory individuals. Another concern raised dealt with inconsistent or limited access to regulatory lists housed in the InCompass system. The full updated version of the Model Rules document will be published after Labor Day. For more information on the Model Rules and about ARCI, please visit www.arci.com. From the Association of Racing Commissioners International 

Lexington, KY --- The Drug Testing Standards and Practices (DTSP) Committee of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) after a meeting on Monday (Aug. 5) endorsed instituting a 48-hour restriction on administration of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), which include phenylbutazone and a 14-day restriction on the administration of corticosteroids, pending scientific review. The restriction on corticosteroids would not apply to harness racing, as the sport is currently amidst proceedings to determine breed-specific rules due to different race schedules for Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds and Quarter Horses. The corticosteroids were previously included in the Model Rules but were removed per the instructions of the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium (RMTC). In a recent meeting of the RMTC the organization recommended the 48-hour restriction on NSAIDs as the science is available to prove administration after that window can compromise a pre-race examination. "There have been situations, specifically in New York, where these restrictions have been implemented and been quite successful," said Ed Martin, ARCI president and past executive director of the New York Gaming and Wagering Board. From the Association of Racing Commissioners International    

The final agenda and supporting materials for the upcoming Association Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) Model Rules Committee meeting in Saratoga Springs, New York USA are now available. Use the button below to access the committee's website: arcimodelrules.online. The ARCI Model Rules Committee meeting will commence Thursday afternoon, August 8, 2019 at 1:30pm at the Saratoga Springs Holiday Inn. The meeting will continue the next morning at 8:00am and terminate at 10:00am. Following the Model Rules meeting there will be a joint meeting with the IFHA Committee on the International Harmonization of Rules. RCI Model Rules meetings are open and public testimony is welcome on agenda items.. ARCI MODELS COMMITTEE: AGENDA & MATERIALS Other ARCI Meeting Information   From Ed Martin, Association Racing Commissioners International  

Lexington, KY – The Drug Testing Standards and Practices (DTSP) Committee of the Association of Racing Commissions International (ARCI) has released for industry and public comment Proposed Revised Penalty Guidelines for violations of the antidoping or medication rules in horse racing. The proposed modifications represent the first major rewrite of the penalty guidelines in more than a decade and would dramatically increase sanctions on those violations that can be considered “doping” or “equine endangerment.” The committee is seeking industry and public input before modifying or advancing the proposed revisions which were developed by a workgroup consisting of past AAEP Presidents Dr. Kathy Anderson, DVM and Dr. Charles Vail, DVM; trainer and former regulator John Ward; current regulators Rick Baedeker (CHRB), Mike Hopkins (MD), and Dan Hartman (CO). The proposal would create two categories of violations, “Doping or Equine Endangerment” and “Treatment Misapplication & Mismanagement”. Penalties for “Doping or Equine Endangerment” violations would be effectively doubled from the existing Class A penalties, with a first violation requiring a two to five year suspension of the trainer and a minimum $50,000 fine which could be increased to $100,000 with aggravating circumstances. A second violation in any jurisdiction would trigger a license revocation. The proposal would also impose a $25,000 fine on an owner if there is a second lifetime offense in the owner’s stable in any jurisdiction. A third offense would suspend the owner for a minimum of thirty days to as much as a year and impose a minimum fine of $50,000 which could be increased to $100,000. Because of the seriousness of “Doping or Equine Endangerment” violations a summary suspension would be immediately required, regardless of whether there is an appeal or not. As the ARCI Model Rules require disclosure to a commission or the maintenance of required treatment records for certain substances, a new recommended penalty for failure to do so would require a minimum $500 fine for a first-time offense. A second offense would bring a $2,500 fine, a third offense a $5,000 fine plus referral to the commission for possible license review. The draft penalty matrix for “Doping and Equine Endangerment” can be downloaded here or at http://arci.com/2019/05/doping-and-equine-endangerment-draft-penalty-matrix/ The draft modified Classification schedule along with suggested penalty categories can be downloaded here or at http://arci.com/2019/05/draft-of-modified-classifications-schedule/. (Please note the tabs at the bottom of the page on the Classification schedule which organizes substances by Class.) Industry and public comments and proposed modifications to the proposal should be submitted prior to August 1, 2019 and emailed to rules@arci.com. The ARCI Model Rules Committee will meet in Saratoga Springs on Thursday, August 8, 2019. The Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee will review comments and proposed changes via a conference call meeting prior to the Saratoga meeting.   Rebecca Shoemaker Assistant to the President & CEO Association of Racing Commissioners International

All racing regulatory commissions have been put on notice that the banning of voluntary race day furosemide administrations by some US racetracks or lawmakers is expected to encourage a return to practices deemed cruel, inhumane, or potentially dangerous to the health and welfare of a horse. Regulatory policy permitting race day furosemide was developed decades ago to end such practices and permit a treatment deemed helpful to the health of the horse. The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) has long maintained their international standard permitting such use is more considerate of the health or the horse than the standards of other organizations that disallow it. Last Friday, the RCI advised Regulatory Commissions to be on the lookout for horses being given intravenous formaldehyde to combat potential incidents of bleeding. The advisory noted that Formaldehyde use is already being investigated in at least one US jurisdiction, and the RCI investigatory intelligence network is reporting that if furosemide is banned in the US, illegal formaldehyde use as an alternative may become common. "This poses an inherent danger to the horse and can be potentially fatal." the advisory read, noting that Racing Victoria, which does not permit race day furosemide, has been dealing with the formaldehyde alternative for several years. The ARCI also advised commissions that it is anticipated that some horsemen will return to a practice known as "Drawing and Muzzling". This practice, common in Europe where race day furosemide treatments are also not permitted, denies a horse food and water for twenty-four to thirty six hours prior to a race. "The denial of water or food to a horse for an extended period of time should be regarded as cruel and inhumane by regulatory authorities," the advisory read. The advisory suggested that any commissions considering requests to suspend current regulatory policy permitting race day furosemide treatments at racetracks or during select races are being advised to consider a corresponding prohibition on "Drawing and Muzzling". This is the second Equine Welfare advisory circulated to commissions in recent days. On April 30th the ARCI warned commissions to be on the lookout for an herbal drug called Kratom that has been linked to almost 100 overdose deaths in humans. Kratom is marketed as a health supplement and treatment for common maladies, but the FDA and DEA have warned against its use. Kratom has been found in racehorses in New York. Commissions were also reminded to alert investigators that some racehorses may be given treatments of nickel to boost performance in much the same way cobalt has been used. Rebecca Shoemaker Assistant to the President & CEO Association of Racing Commissioners International

The 2018 Anti-Doping and Drug Testing Program conducted by US racing regulatory bodies found continued substantial compliance with racing’s medication and anti-doping rules and little support for claims that the use of drugs to mask pain when horses race is rampant. As it does each year the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) released a summary of the collective results of the individual state programs conducted in 2018. In 2018 horses competing in 95,618 individual races were tested, 43,574 flat races (quarter horse and thoroughbred combined) and 52,044 standardbred races. This represents a reduction from the previous year when horses from 98,883 races were tested. On average 3.2 horses were tested in each flat race and 2.26 horses tested in each standardbred contest. In 2018, there were 1,561 violations of the medication rules out of 258,920 samples tested, meaning that 99.4% of all tests found the horse to be compliant with the rules. It also means that the facts do not support claims that a substantial number of horses are racing under the influence of pain masking medications as all testing labs routinely screen for the presence of such drugs. Such instances do occasionally occur and are reflected in the violations that are found and prosecuted. The ARCI has described violations involving Class 1 or Class 2 substances as instances of “doping”. Violations involving substances of a lesser class often involve overages of medications deemed therapeutic or authorized by US federal law for veterinary use. There was a dramatic drop in doping instances from 2017 to 2018. In 2017, 11% of all violations found were for Class 1 or 2 substances. In 2018, that number dropped to 6.8% of all violations. In 2018, there were 107 findings out of 258,920 samples tested for these substances deemed to have the greatest effect on performance, or 0.04% of all samples tested. In 2017, there were 169 findings out of 293,704 samples, or 0.06% of those tested. Violations involving Class 3 substances were 26.2% of all adverse analytical findings in 2018, a slight increase over the 24.5% detected in 2017. There were 409 Class 3 AAF’s in 2018 - 0.16% of all tested - compared to 376 in 2017 - 0.13% tested. Violations involving substances deemed least likely to affect performance - Class 4 and 5 substances - accounted for 66.9% of the adverse analytical findings in 2018, slightly up from the 64.5% of AAF’s in 2017. Clear Rate: In 2018, 99.4% of all samples tested were determined to be clear of any substance that would trigger an adverse analytical finding (AAF). In 2017, the clear rate for all US horse racing was 99.5%. For Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse races, the clear rate in 2018 was 99.13% and the rate for Standardbred races that year was 99.71%. By comparison, the 2017 Annual Report of the US Anti Doping Agency indicates that their clear rate for human sport was 99.12% for Olympic, Paralympic and Global Service Testing. The 2019 World Anti-Doping Agency’s Testing Report shows that their “clear rate” is 98.57%. “Horse racing and human sport share the same challenges in combatting those who cheat. While the overall clear rate is comparable, I do not believe anyone is under the illusion in either human sport or horse racing that we are catching everyone who will attempt to cheat,” said Ed Martin, President of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. “Industry investments in anti-doping research and a greater emphasis on expanded investigatory staff at the regulatory agencies and racetracks is essential if we are to effectively combat this threat,” he said. Rebecca Shoemaker Assistant to the President & CEO Association of Racing Commissioners International

There are three organizations that set “international standards” concerning equine races: the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities (IFHA) Recent press releases and political advocacy campaigns in the US have made reference to the need to adopt “international standards”.   The implied standards referenced are those of the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities, embodied in 87 pages of an International Agreement. No racing regulatory authority empowered to make or enforce rules anywhere in North America is allowed to vote on adoption of those standards, although individual members of the European Union may.     By contrast, the ARCI standards are the result of cooperative discussions between all aspects of the racing industry and are adopted upon the votes of the actual racing regulatory authorities who have been given the statutory ability to adopt and enforce such policies.    The ARCI does not limit those regulatory authorities allowed to vote. The standards of all three organizations are substantially similar, although the ARCI Model Rules are more exhaustive with regard to many matters.   One major difference deals with whether to permit the controlled and disclosed administration of furosemide on race day, an equine welfare program adopted decades ago designed to mitigate or prevent EIPH, exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage.   The ARCI has been setting international standards for 85 years.  Those standards are embodied in the ARCI Model Rules of Racing of which all but 53 of its 468 pages apply to equine races and associated wagering. Rebecca Shoemaker

The Drug Testing Standards and Practices (DTSP) Committee of the Association of Racing Commissions International (ARCI) is considering a major change to the recommended penalties for violations of the association's drug rules to dramatically increase sanctions on those violations that can be considered "doping" or "equine endangerment". An ARCI workgroup has been quietly working for the past year to put together a system to increase penalties for violations categorized as "Doping of Equine Endangerment". Penalties for such violations would be effectively doubled from the existing Class A penalties, with a first violation requiring a two to five-year suspension of the trainer and a minimum $50,000 fine which could be increased to $100,000 with aggravating circumstances. A second violation in any jurisdiction would trigger a license revocation. The proposal would also impose a $25,000 fine on an owner if there is a second lifetime offense in the owner's stable in any jurisdiction. A third offense would suspend the owner for a minimum of thirty days to as much as a year and impose a minimum fine of $50,000 which could be increased to $100,000. Because of the seriousness of these violations a summary suspension would be required, pending any appeal. Existing penalties for medication overages would remain the same and many would be re-categorized as a "Treatment Misapplication & Mismanagement". If the substance or the quantity of a substance found in horse would warrant an equine endangerment charge it would be the commission's equine medical director or regulatory veterinarian who would have to recommend such to the Stewards. The proposal also contains a minimum $500 fine for a first-time failure to keep or report required treatment records. A second offense would bring a $2,500 fine, a third offense a $5,000 fine plus a referral to the commission for possible license review. In August, 2017, the RCI Board tasked the DTSP Committee with performing a review of the current penalty guidelines and structure with an eye toward differentiating between violations that could clearly be called "doping" or "equine endangerment" from those that were overages of therapeutic medications with less of an impact on performance by virtual of being classified as a Class 4 or 5 drug. Following that meeting an online survey was conducted of DTSP Committee members and a similar survey was conducted of interested industry contacts. A conference call was held to discuss the project and a smaller group provided subsequent input. Recognizing that the task was a potentially enormous undertaking, Committee Chair Duncan Patterson, the Chair of the Delaware Thoroughbred Commission, asked former RCI Chair Dan Hartman to coordinate a workgroup to flesh out what a modified penalty guideline system might look like. The following individuals agreed to serve on the workgroup and literally spent countless hours discussing almost every substance contained on the RCI Classification Document. Those who worked on the project were:   Dr. Kathy Anderson, DVM - past AAEP President; Dr. Charles Vail, DVM - past AAEP President, former Colorado Racing Commissioner; Mr. John Ward - former regulator and lifelong horseman; Rick Baedeker - former track operator and current regulator; Mike Hopkins - former horseman and lifelong regulator, and; Dan Hartman, current regulator.   At last week's committee meeting at the ARCI Annual Conference in Arcadia, California, the draft proposal was presented along with a request that it be circulated for industry review, comment, and potential modification where appropriate. The draft documents are posted online and anyone interesting in commenting or making a related proposal may do so by emailing comments or documents to rules@arci.com The draft penalty matrix for "Doping and Equine Endangerment" can be downloaded here or at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RnoaRh8DqUSsyQfzoeihAbSYPQfJuhEF/view. The draft modified Classification schedule along with suggested penalty categories can be downloaded here or at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rtaiT7YmgMhV7xkDIfZfKSyaMDBzKzgF/view. (Please note the tabs at the bottom of the page on the Classification schedule which organizes substances by Class.) It is anticipated that this proposal will be a discussion item during the ARCI summer meetings in Saratoga, details of which are posted on the ARCI website www.arci.com .   Rebecca Shoemaker Assistant to the President & CEO Association of Racing Commissioners International

The Scientific Advisory Group of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) has reported that there is no current science linking furosemide treatments to muscular skeletal issues that may be a contributing cause of equine breakdowns in racing. The group reported to a meeting of the RCI’s Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee that they discussed the issue at their meeting on April 2, 2019 and were not aware of any published studies or papers providing any evidence of such a link. The Scientific Advisory Group members participating in the meeting were:  Dr. Scot Stanley, Dr. Heather Kynch, Dr. George Maylin, Dr. Ken McKeever, Dr. Cynthia Cole, Dr. Mary Robinson, Dr. Rick Sams, and Dr. Thomas Tobin. “There remains an attempt on the part of some organizations and individuals to leave the impression that the current equine welfare policy of permitting the voluntary race day use of furosemide under controlled and transparent circumstances is somehow tied to the tragic equine deaths that have occurred at Santa Anita and elsewhere,” said ARCI President Ed Martin in a statement. “The ARCI is never averse to examining an existing policy and we were concerned that such statements might be based upon solid scientific information we have yet been able to analyze.   Apparently, they are not.  Our science advisors were asked to review this matter and make us aware of any new information that might be relevant to the equine tragedies that have occurred,” he said.   In 2011, after two RCI officers called for the phase out of race day furosemide treatments, an industry debate on the issue was reignited.  The Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee conducted a review of the existing policy and held a public hearing during the Saratoga meet.   Input was received from a variety of experts, including Dr. N. Edward Robinson from the Center for Integrative Toxicology at the Veterinary Medical Center at Michigan State University.   Dr. Robinson is a recognized expert in the study of animal lung dysfunction, particularly equine airway disease.   He directs the Equine Pulmonary Research Laboratory at MSU which is dedicated to studying the pathogenesis and treatment of diseases of the air passages (airways) of the horse. After completion of that review, the committee decided that there was insufficient science to justify change to not change the current policy. The rationale for current furosemide policy was strengthened by a 2014 Consensus statement from the independent American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine entitled Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage in Horses.   Rebecca Shoemaker Assistant to the President & CEO Association of Racing Commissioners International

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