August 24, 2017
Contact: Hallie Roach Lewis (859) 224-2848
RMTC STATEMENT ON FRANKLIN CIRCUIT COURT DECISION
The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) has reviewed the decision of the Franklin Circuit court in Kentucky entered on August 18. The ruling in this case is wrong concerning the scientific basis for the methocarbamol threshold applied by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC), and has moved Kentucky backward in its regulation of horse racing – putting at risk the health and welfare of horses racing in Kentucky, the safety of jockeys and the integrity of Kentucky horse racing in general.
Furthermore, the court’s mystifying ruling undermining Kentucky’s reliance upon the absolute insurer rule regarding trainer responsibility puts Kentucky out of step with other major racing jurisdictions and undermines its efforts toward national uniformity of regulations.
Methocarbamol Threshold Determination
The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority’s enforcement of the threshold was properly based upon scientific research and analysis performed and/or referenced by the RMTC. The original study upon which this threshold is based was founded on sound science. The thresholds and withdrawal guidance provide the best information for compliance where an intravenous dose is given at 48 hours or more prior to a race. In fact, this methocarbamol threshold was revisited by the RMTC’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) as recently as last year. Every time a new study comes out on any of the controlled therapeutic substances, the RMTC SAC reviews that data to ensure that the threshold remains relevant. The RMTC stands behind its recommendation.
The decision by the circuit court to require the research to identify the point at which a therapeutic effect completely ends is short-sighted and over-simplifies the complexities of determining thresholds for therapeutic medications. That question assumes the possibility of pinpointing the exact concentration at which a medication no longer has an effect in a sport where fractions of an inch mean the difference between winning and losing. Moreover, it fails to take into consideration the side effects of a medication which can ultimately affect the outcome of a race. Here, the side effects of methocarbamol include sedation. A horse that is quiet in its stall will likely run a better race than one that washes out on race day. Thus, to determine when a therapeutic medication’s effects no longer affect the outcome of the race is not a simple determination. It takes expertise – this is the area of expertise that the RMTC SAC has and the court does not.
The Trainer Responsibility Rule
The United States as a whole has moved away from the rebuttable presumption standard to the absolute insurer rule. Kentucky needs to move along with the rest of the country. This is the best way to ensure the integrity of the sport as well as the health and safety of racehorses.
In conclusion, the RMTC vigorously opposes this decision and stands by the KHRC.
The RMTC’s SAC consists of experts in the field of analytic chemistry, veterinary pharmacology, regulatory veterinary medicine, toxicology and veterinary medicine. There is no other body in U.S. racing with this broad base and depth of scientific experience. The individuals on the SAC have over 350 years of experience specifically related to racing.
The RMTC consists of 23 racing industry stakeholders and organizations that represent Thoroughbred, Standardbred, American Quarter Horse and Arabian racing. The organization works to develop and promote uniform rules, policies and testing standards at the national level; coordinate research and educational programs that seek to ensure the integrity of racing and the health and welfare of racehorses and participants; and protect the interests of the racing public.
For additional information, visit the RMTC website at rmtcnet.com or contact Hallie Lewis, RMTC communications and development consultant, at (859) 224-2848.