ARCI Updates Model Rules, Will Review Penalty Guidelines

Some believe the recommended penalties aren’t enough for egregious violations and too harsh for isolated minor offenses.

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Stewards and judges will be given greater flexibility to consider mitigating factors in deciding whether to deny the purse and disqualify a horse for lesser violations of racing’s medication rules under the latest version of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) Model Rules of Racing.

Version 8.1, now available at, permits the consideration of mitigating factors in deciding whether to deny a purse for some violations involving substances requiring a Class C penalty. Consideration of mitigating circumstances has long been permitted for Class B penalty violations, and this change would extend current policy to lessor offenses.

The ARCI Board also voted to conduct an overall review of the recommended Penalty Guidelines for medication and doping violations.

“Some have argued that the recommended penalties may not be tough enough for the most egregious violations or that isolated minor offenses are treated too harshly,” said ARCI President Ed Martin. “This has not been examined in depth for many years and the Board believes this review is overdue

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