Mid-Atlantic States Move Forward With Racehorse Drug Reform

Industry stakeholders met Jan. 30 for an update on adoption of uniform medication and drug testing rules.

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Horse racing jurisdictions concentrated in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions are finding progress to be a subjective term: Much has been accomplished, but much remains to be done.

About 40 industry stakeholders, primarily regulators and horsemen’s representatives, met Jan. 30 at the White Clay Creek Country Club at Delaware Park, in Wilmington, Del., for an update on adoption of uniform model rules on equine medication and drug testing. It was about a year ago the group first met to attempt to devise a regional plan that could serve as a national model.

The rules, which center on threshold levels and withdrawal times for 24 therapeutic drugs, third-party administration of race-day furosemide, standard testing at accredited laboratories, and a tougher penalty system based on points, have been embraced by all racing states in the region. Maryland had them on the books by Jan. 1, in time for the winter/spring meet at Laurel Park.

Things have moved more slowly in other states simply because of differences in how regulations are adopted. But two other states—Delaware and Virginia—expect to have the rules in place by the time live racing begins in the spring

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Written by:

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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