The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) board of directors announced March 26 that a uniform threshold for cobalt regulation in the United States was approved at its regularly scheduled meeting held on March 24 at Gulfstream Park racetrack in Hallandale, Florida.

The cobalt threshold, which was developed and unanimously recommended by the RMTC’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), will be submitted to the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) for consideration as a model rule at RCI’s April meeting in Tampa Bay, Florida. Technical assistance will be provided by the RMTC to individual jurisdictions seeking to adopt cobalt regulations. The SAC is a standing committee of the RMTC, comprised of chemists, pharmacologists, lab directors, regulatory veterinarians, and racetrack veterinarians from across the U.S. horse racing industry.

Under the RMTC recommendation:

  • Horses that test above 25 parts per billion (ppb) of cobalt in plasma shall be: (i) subject to a fine or a warning for the first offense; (ii) placed on the veterinarian’s list; and (iii) ineligible to race until they test below 25 ppb of cobalt in plasma (at the owner’s cost); and
  • Horses that test above 50 ppb of cobalt in plasma shall be subject to a Class B penalty which in most jurisdictions includes: (i) disqualification of the horse; (ii) a fine; and (iii) trainer suspension.

“This proposal is designed to protect the health and welfare of the race horse,” explained Rick Arthur, DVM, RMTC secretary and California’s equine medical director. “The recommended thresholds provide gen