The two-day conference for regulatory and official racetrack veterinarians—presented by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) and National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Safety & Integrity Alliance—is designed to provide training and discuss and implement best practices directly related to protecting racehorse health and welfare. More than 60 veterinarians from six countries—including those representing almost 50 North American racetracks across 20 states—attended Day 1 of the meeting.
“As regulators, we are often challenged by the feeling of being out there alone,” said Shari Silverman, VMD, of the New Jersey Racing Commission. “Coming together as a national group helps affirm actions we take, gives us new ideas and direction to move in, and incentivizes us to continue to explore more ways to improve the welfare of these horses and ensure the integrity of racing.”
Early sessions focused on pharmacology, with a review from Cindy Cole, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVCP, from the University of Florida’s Racing Laboratory, in Gainesville, and a presentation on regulated substances in the equine environment by Kentucky Horse Racing Commission equine medical director Mary Scollay, DVM.
Later in the day, attendees visited Gulfstream Park’s shed rows for simulated pre-race inspection demonstrations on racehorses in training. Afterward, Barrie Grant, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, MRCVS, of the California Horse Racing Board, led a discussion on pre-race examination decision-making.
“Regulatory veterinarians are the only ones that advocate strictly for the horse, without having to answer to a trainer or an owner,” said Dionne Benson, DVM, executive director and COO of the RMTC. “We ask veterinarians at this conference to be mindful of to whom they are ultimately accountable.”