October 2017 Issue - page 11

October 2017
Page 11
PA Horseracing Initiates Out-of-Competition Testing
while protecting the welfare of
horses. According to the PHRC,
out-of-competition testing will:
• Test the horse for perfor-
mance enhancing substances that
may not otherwise be detected
with post-race testing; and
• Deter the use of these
Horses that are tested are gen-
erally selected at random from spe-
cific populations. PHRC officials
are authorized to take blood, urine
or other samples from any horse
that “has been engaging in activities
related to competing in horse racing
in Pennsylvania.” That would
include horses that are in training to
compete in Pennsylvania, whether
they are training inside Pennsylva-
nia or outside the state.
Any horse that is on the
grounds of a racetrack in Penn-
sylvania is eligible for random
out-of-competition testing. Horses
nominated to a breeder’s award
fund or a Standardbred state sires
stake are also eligible for testing.
In addition, commission offi-
cials may test horses when there
is reasonable or probable cause to
suspect that the horses are being
subjected to banned drugs, or if
drugs have been seized on the
premises where race horses are
stabled, or if a horse’s perfor-
mance suddenly improves.
The out-of-competition
testing protocols have been
approved and embraced by the
state’s six racetracks as well as
the Horsemen’s Associations. All
the out-of-competition samples
are analyzed at the Pennsylvania
Equine Toxicology Research
Laboratory (PETRL), supervised
by Dr. Mary Robinson.
New Penalties
Raise the Stakes
PHRC has published their
new rules for out-of-competi-
tion testing and defined severe
penalties for both trainers who
refuse to cooperate, and for those
whose horses have positive tests
for banned drugs. If a trainer
refuses to make a horse available
for testing, or interferes in the
testing process, the trainer faces
a minimum penalty of 180 days
suspension plus a $5,000 fine.
A trainer whose horse tests
positive for anabolic steroids will
face a fine of $5,000, plus a 180-
day suspension. And any purse
money earned will be forfeited.
A trainer whose horse tests
positive for blood doping agents
will face a fine of $10,000 plus
a 2-year suspension, along with
forfeiture of any purse money.
Along with the penalties for
trainers, on October 1 the PHRC
initiated new restrictions for hors-
es that test positive. Horses that
test positive for Class 1 or 2 drugs
will be suspended from racing in
Pennsylvania for 50 days. Horses
that test positive for Class 3 drugs
will be suspended from racing in
Pennsylvania for 30 days. The
Association of Racing Commis-
sioners International (ARCI)
includes opiates, psychoactive
drugs and amphetamines in Class
1; psychotropic drugs, as well as
certain nervous system and cardio
stimulants and injectable anesthet-
ics in Class 2; bronchodilators and
stimulants in Class 3.
Protecting Horses and the
Industry’s Integrity
It’s hard to imagine any state’s
legislature ignoring profound
enforcement lapses in the pharma-
ceutical or energy or food service
industries. There are economic and
health ramifications for the state
as well as individual citizens when
corporations ignore their funda-
mental responsibilities. The state’s
horseracing industry protects criti-
cal open space, provides thousands
of jobs, creates revenue and is an
entertainment and tourist attraction
for citizens of Pennsylvania as well
as neighboring states.
In the past two years Pennsyl-
vania has reconfigured the mech-
anism for government oversight
of horseracing. Now they have
created new protocols to address
the drug abuse that undermines the
sport’s integrity. But there were
rules before, and there were testing
procedures before. Facing scathing
criticism from industry leaders out-
side the state, it’s imperative—at
the very least, to protect the horses
involved in this sport—that the
PHRC assertively and unambigu-
ously enforce the rules.
(Continued from page 4)
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