After a decade of discussion, and two full years of study, an enhanced model rule for out-of-competition testing that includes a progressive list of prohibited substances was finally proposed by the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium at the Association of Racing Commissioners International convention in March 2016.
As background, the first test for Erythropoietin, aka EPO, in horses was developed in 2006, and the Association of Racing Commissioners International subsequently developed the model rule for out-of-competition testing in 2007. Nearly a decade later, according to the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium website, only 19 of 38 states have even published regulatory guidelines for out-of-competition testing. Among those states, wide variation exists in the breadth and depth of out-of-competition testing rules and protocols.
The long-awaited out-of-competition testing recommendation from the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium would effectively ban the use of anabolic steroids in training and require that out-of-competition use of clenbuterol and certain other therapeutic drugs be reported to the regulatory authority. The broad-based Racing Medication & Testing Consortium board, which includes horsemen and regulators, had approved it via the unanimous vote of its 23 industry-representative members.
If and when the Association of Racing Commissioners International finally promulgates the new model rule, there is no guarantee that all 38 racing jurisdictions will even implement the rule and its prohibited substances list – much less in the form unanimously approved by the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium.
Out-of-competition testing is an integral part of racing integrity programs throughout the world and in human sport. As a sport and as a business, we need to take every measure we can to ensure the integrity of competition, and we encourage regulatory authorities to adopt the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium’s out-of-competition protocols and associated prohibited substance list as quickly as possible.