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Medication Initiatives

AQHA calls for tracks and industry stakeholders to work with State Racing Commissions to address medication issues.

August 31, 2012

Generic Racing Photo

The American Quarter Horse Association is dedicated to the health and well-being of the American Quarter Horse, and it works to ensure the integrity and welfare of the entire horse industry. While a recent outbreak of medication violation is not representative of thousands of members, owners and trainers, it is something the Association and racing horsemen take very seriously.

At its August 29 meeting, the AQHA Executive Committee ratified recommendations from an August 15 Racing Council meeting. Among the recommendations are the following key points, which should be implemented as soon as possible to address medication issues:
  • Only RMTC-accredited laboratories should be permitted to test samples, with results available to the public.
  • Medications permitted in the racehorse should be subjected to stricter regulatory thresholds with increased recommended withdrawal times.
  • Racing jurisdictions’ reaction to positive tests and due process in handing out fines and penalties must be timelier
  • A horse that is given a positive test for a Class 1 drug should be placed on the vets list for at least 15 days
  • A trainer whose horse is the subject of a Class 1 positive test should not be permitted to enter or start horses pending final adjudication of the positive test in question
  • Penalties for Class 1 and Class 2 medication violations, as well as repeat offenders, should be increased
The Association has already shown a deep commitment to addressing these issues through financial support of worthy industry initiatives and also provides industry leadership to enact change. For example, AQHA conditionally endorses the Jockey Club’s Reformed Racing Medication Rules, and has worked with states to enact regulations regarding misuse of the therapeutic medication clenbuterol. AQHA is a member of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and Racing Commissioners International.

Ruidoso Downs in Ruidoso, New Mexico, is among the racetracks that have shown a commitment to work with AQHA to clean up any violations or perceived cheating. AQHA and the track are working with the New Mexico Racing Commission, which is in charge of rulings and enforcement.

AQHA is also coordinating with other key states around the nation, as well as setting up industry stakeholders meetings to move forward with a reformed medication proposal.