The New York Gaming Commission (NYGC), during a Jan. 21 public hearing, heard the pros and cons of having different medication rules for Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses.

The NYGC, which oversees horse racing in the state, is currently considering uniform model drug rules approved by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) and adopted by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI). Many states in the Mid-Atlantic region have enacted the rules or are in the process of adopting them.

Concerns over withdrawal times and threshold levels for clenbuterol and corticosteroids led the United States Trotting Association (USTA) to leave the RMTC in late September 2013 and to publicly oppose the rules adopted by RCI. Standardbred leaders have repeatedly said current regulations are effective for harness horses.

"We’ve used (the medications) for 10 years or more, and we don’t have a problem with them," USTA president Phil Langley told the NYGC. "Our breed is just so durable."

RMTC executive director Dionne Benson, DVM, outlined the organization’s position and said concerns by the Standardbred industry were addressed last fall via formation of an ad hoc committee that developed white papers on clenbuterol and corticosteroids. She said the determination by scientists and veterinarians was that "said thresholds are appropriate for all breeds."

Benson also said there are lingering concerns over the effect regular long-term use of clenbuterol can have on racehorses of any breed. She defended the RMTC by saying consultants worldwide believe the organization took a &qu