AMARILLO, Texas — The American Quarter Horse Association is urging all horsemen and racing jurisdictions involved with American Quarter Horse racing to begin the process of adopting, by reference, the Racing Commissioners’ International Controlled Therapeutic Medication schedule.
With the boards of both the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (consisting of 24 racing industry stakeholders and organizations) and RCI (consisting of representatives from racing authorities across the United States, Canada and other international jurisdictions), these medications and this schedule have been vetted by scientific experts and rule makers.
Eight states in the Mid-Atlantic region of the Northeast United States have already begun the process for adopting the rules and have set a goal of Jan. 1, 2014, to have the uniform rules in place.
New Mexico and Texas have each taken steps to strengthen their respective commissions and rules. New Mexico increased the budget for investigations, drug testing and other areas.
Last October, Texas released a memo stating that it reviewed the ARCI’s Task Force on Medication Science’s proposed changes to the list of approved therapeutics and revised its list of medications and their permissible post-race concentration levels in blood and urine.
Texas also adopted new Clenbuterol thresholds on March 28.
The American Quarter Horse Foundation is funding a dermorphin study through a private donation to fund a research project being conducted by the RMTC and HFL Laboratories in Lexington, Ky. Methods to detect and identify dermorphin have been developed but there is no certified reference material to compare samples to.
This project is aimed at supporting the development of a synthetic reference dermorphin that will be provided to racehorse testing laboratories for use as a reference testing standard.
Believed to have up to 40 times more potency than morphine, dermorphin is produced naturally as a skin secretion in certain species of South American frogs, but can also be produced synthetically.
It is speculated that the drug is being manufactured synthetically, due to the high doses that would be required to produce an effect in a horse.
“Today is the day,” said AQHA First Vice President Johnny Trotter, an active racehorse breeder and owner from Hereford, Texas. “The various states and provinces will each have to go through a process to get this done but make no mistake — Congress is watching.”
Trotter is referring to the recently introduced Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, written by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa.
“Members in Congress still do not believe that the racing industry will address and fix its problems,” Trotter said. “We must demonstrate otherwise.”