Since its inception more than a decade ago, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) has worked to develop and promote uniform rules and testing standards at the national level, which culminated in the creation of the National Uniform Medication Program (NUMP) in 2012. A review of the rules of pari-mutuel racing conducted between July 19 and November 16, 2017, shows that not one of the major racing jurisdictions has adopted NUMP in its entirety.
The systematic comprehensive review was undertaken to quantify the current progress across individual states toward adoption of all four components of NUMP. Only materials that were publicly available, including meeting minutes, commission notices, and published rules, were considered. This ensures a clear view of each state’s rule-making process and adoption method. Internal operating procedures and policies not accessible to the general public were not considered. For this reason, there is some variance as compared to other status reports, which may include surveys or internal operating procedures and policies and rules implemented at specific tracks.
The following are the four key components:
1. Implementation of a two-tier drug classification system: controlled therapeutic medications and prohibited substances with regulatory thresholds and withdrawal guidelines provided for each of the controlled therapeutic medications. This Controlled Therapeutic Medication Schedule (CTMS) is provided by the Association of Racing Commissioners International Inc. (ARCI). The most recent version is Version 4.0 published in April 2017.
2. Administration of furosemide on race day by the official veterinarian, the racing veterinarian or his/her designee no fewer than four hours prior to post time. The model rule is provided by ARCI Model Rules in the most recent version, Version 8.1, published July 2017 found in ARCI-011-020 Medications and Prohibited Substances; Section F(2)(a).
3. Accreditation of all equine drug-testing facilities that meets the recently enacted RMTC Code of Standards for Drug Testing Laboratories.
4. Adoption of the current version of the ARCI Penalty Guidelines for Multiple Medication Violations (MMV) by state racing commissions. The model rule is provided by ARCI Model Rules in the most recent version, Version 8.1, published July 2017 found in ARCI-011-020 Medications and Prohibited Substances; Section A(13).
Pertinent states were examined for adoption of each component of NUMP. Specific rule language was examined individually for the components of NUMP involving CTMS, third-party furosemide administration, and Penalty Guidelines for MMV. The other component of NUMP, RMTC Laboratory Accreditation status, was quantified according to the RMTC National Uniform Medication Program Thoroughbred Racing Summary (2017, June). States examined were Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.
The first component of NUMP observed was the CTMS as referenced by the ARCI Controlled Therapeutic Medication Schedule for Horses Version 4.0. When rule language was examined, a variety of adoption methods were observed. States either adopted this portion of NUMP by reference or by individual drug thresholds. For those that adopted by reference, there was a variation as to which version of the CTMS was adopted, if the jurisdiction included a note to automatically include future versions, or if review was required for future versions. For those that adopted by individual thresholds, each of the current 30 controlled therapeutic medications and its recommended threshold level was examined. Deviations were found within some of the recommended thresholds. A state was quantified as fully adopted only if it regulated the current recommended therapeutic threshold level for all 30 controlled therapeutic medications. Nine states have fully adopted the most current thresholds for all 30 controlled therapeutic medications listed on the most current version of the CTMS (Version 4.0): Colorado, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota and Texas.
The second component of NUMP examined was third-party furosemide (or Lasix) administration. A wide range of language variation was seen within the rule specifying furosemide administration. For this portion of NUMP, it was found that seven states have fully adopted the model rule for administration of furosemide by a third party, such as the official or commission veterinarian or his/her designee, as outlined in the ARCI Model Rules Version 8.1, published July 2017 found in ARCI-011-020 Medications and Prohibited Substances; Section F(2)(a). These states are Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, North Dakota and Virginia.
The third component of NUMP observed was the RMTC laboratory accreditation. This information was obtained through the survey and status report conducted by RMTC (National Uniform Medication Program Thoroughbred Racing Summary, June 2017). This portion of NUMP was adopted in full by 29 of the states reviewed.
The fourth component of NUMP examined was the current version of the ARCI Penalty Guidelines for MMV per ARCI Model Rules Version 8.1, found in ARCI-011-020 Medications and Prohibited Substances; Section A(13). This component has been fully adopted in the most current version by nine of the states reviewed: Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.
The data shows that no jurisdiction that hosts Thoroughbred or Quarter Horse racing has adopted all four components of NUMP in full with the most recent versions of the recommended model rules. The majority of states have partially adopted NUMP: adopting three of four components are Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, Montana and Virginia; two of four are Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and West Virginia; and one of four are California, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wyoming. Florida and Iowa have not fully adopted any component.
U.S. racing jurisdictions have had more than a decade to achieve uniformity, yet uniformity has still not been achieved, even with the introduction of NUMP. The best way to achieve uniformity is through the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 (H.R. 2651), which was recently introduced by members of Congress and has more than 100 co-sponsors. When enacted, H.R. 2651 would provide the horse racing industry with a single set of uniform drug testing rules and enforcement protocols that would be managed by an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit anti-doping organization.
For more information on H.R. 2651, visit the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity at horseracingintegrity.com.
Additional information on the state-by-state review of NUMP can be found on the Horse Racing Reform website at horseracingreform.org/default.asp?section=2&area=7.
Horse Racing Reform is a national movement of veterinarians, breeders, trainers, owners, bettors, and fans for uniform medication, testing, and safety regulations that will provide safer competition for humans and equines.