The United States Trotting Association (USTA), citing differences in breeds, said Sept. 26 it has ended its membership in the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) and rejected the proposed national model rules on uniform medication standards.
The USTA Executive Committee said it voted unanimously to leave the RMTC and reject the model rules pushed by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI). The organization said it has contributed more than $1 million to the RMTC the past 10 years.
The USTA, based in Columbus, Ohio, in a release said it will ask RCI to maintain the current medication policies in effect for Standardbred racing.
RMTC chairman Alex Waldrop, president of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
"We have carefully considered the RCI proposals and have come to the conclusion that the physical characteristics of the breeds are significantly different," USTA president Phil Langley said in the release. "Trying to fit them together makes little sense. We believe both breeds, Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds, will benefit from having rules concentrated solely on their needs.
"Many safeguards now in use in harness racing would never be acceptable to the more high-strung Thoroughbreds, including Lasix barns, two- to four-hour paddock times, and racing on a weekly basis. On the other hand, both the frequency that Standardbreds race and the lack of catastrophic breakdowns in harness racing make the utilization of some therapeutic medications much different between the breeds.
"After studying these proposed rule