Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse stakeholders in Florida said they are united in backing the National Uniform Medication Program, but its fate lies with the state legislature.

United Florida Horsemen, a partnership that works on legislative and regulatory issues, said agreement on the equine medication program was reached in early April. Florida horsemen earlier were labeled as holdouts in endorsing the plan, which includes the Controlled Therapeutic Medication Schedule and a new penalty system for violators.

Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association executive director Kent Stirling said April 23 the issue is reluctance by lawmakers to open state racing law to include the new drug policy.

"We've pretty much been told they're trying to back-door it in," Stirling said. "The problem is if you open (the law), everyone starts trying to add other stuff to it."

Parameters for adoption of the National Uniform Medication Policy vary from state to state. Some can adopt the rules by reference; others have to go through the legislative approval process.

"We can't adopt rules willy-nilly down here," Stirling said.

Florida's 2014 legislative session ends May 2. Meanwhile, The Stronach Group, which owns Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., plans to implement house rules tied to medication, integrity, and equine welfare, but also placed a deadline on adoption of the National Uniform Medication Program.

"In order to be effective, these reforms must be adopted and implemented by all racing states no later than Sept. 1, 2014," the company said earlier in April. &