RCI Has New Take on Out-of-Competition Tests

A new approach could not only target blood- and gene-doping, but also help identify horses at risk of injury.
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The umbrella group for regulators in North America is examining a new approach to out-of-competition testing that would not only target blood- and gene-doping, but also help identify horses at risk of catastrophic injury.

Out-of-competition testing, on the books in eight states, has different rules depending on the jurisdiction but was enacted generally to test horses while they’re in training either at the track or at training centers and farms. Ed Martin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI), said Feb. 6 it can serve another useful purpose.

Martin was one of several speakers on an out-of-competition testing panel during the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) winter convention in Carefree, Arizona.

Martin offered several scenarios that could occur in the business: Some owners could pressure a trainer to race a horse that shouldn’t be entered; some veterinarians could pressure a trainer to enter and race a horse; and some practitioners could "enable" a horse to race when it should be on the sidelines

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Tom LaMarra, a native of New Jersey and graduate of Rutgers University, has been news editor at The Blood-Horse since 1998. After graduation he worked at newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as an editor and reporter with a focus on municipal government and politics. He also worked at Daily Racing Form and Thoroughbred Times before joining The Blood-Horse. LaMarra, who has lived in Lexington since 1994, has won various writing awards and was recognized with the Old Hilltop Award for outstanding coverage of the horse racing industry. He likes to spend some of his spare time handicapping races.

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