Commentary: Results Of Uniform Medication Rules ‘Appear Confusing At Best And Disingenuous At Worst’

by | 12.07.2015 | 3:06pm

Dr. Jennifer Durenberger wonders if Americans are “asking too much” of the National Uniform Medication Program in an editorial on Thoroughbred Racing Commentary.

A state veterinarian, racing steward and most recently the director of racing in Massachusetts, Dr. Durenberger's main concern is that the uniform rules ought to produce uniform results across the country. Unfortunately, that has not been the case, and to those both inside and outside the racing industry, the “disparate outcomes appear confusing at best and disingenuous at worst.”

The cause of the differing outcomes in similar situations is fairly straightforward, says Dr. Durenberger. She highlights the unique procedural requirements of different racing jurisdictions, some of which may investigate with in-house staff, others with police units. There are also differences in state and case law between jurisdictions, which also tend to lead to unique results. In short, “both the appetite and ability to investigate and prosecute a medication finding vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.”

One solution Dr. Durenberger proposes can be found in Section 6 of the Barr-Tonko bill, which would initiate nationwide uniform “procedures for investigating, charging, and adjudicating violations and for the enforcement of sanctions for violations.” Durenberger believes the future of racing depends on “protecting the horse,” arguing that “we wouldn't be having this conversation if the status quo was acceptable.”

Read more at Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

  • Alex

    The Tod Pletcher case in Delaware that exposed the RMTC thresholds that can not be supported. No documents were produced by the RMTC on how they developed thresholds. So without scientific evidence the case was thrown out. The attorneys stated that the RMTC developed thresholds can not stand the light of day. These wrong thresholds and wrong withdraw times were sold to racing commissions all around the country by the RMTC’s none practicing Veterinarian Dionne Benson and Slick Meister Attorney Alan Foreman.

    • Chris Scherf


      • Alex

        Tod Pletcher case of a Betamethasone positive in the Deleware Handicap was thrown out because the RMTC’S THRESHOLDS.

        • ben

          Nobody is gooiing to fight off Todd Pletcher, he,s gunned far too good.

          • togahombre

            if they can’t provide the scientific documentation you don’t need the ‘dream team’ to state your case, the racing commission’s lack of attention to detail is the culprit in this case

        • ben

          Just accept the IFHA, and enforce them. No needs for more approved medications, and no disputes.

          Above will save a lot of money, and a lot of vet,s.

  • kcbca1

    “both the appetite and ability to investigate and prosecute a medication finding vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.”

    Any successful testing program must have several things built into it. First and foremost it must have integrity. Secondly, it must have transparency. You can’t have the first without the second and visa-versa. Within the context of those two things you must have consistency. You will never gain consistency when you have 50 different fiefdoms with 50 different agendas.

    Why do we keep questioning what needs to be done? The Barr – Tonko bill is the most logical way forward. This is just another example of why.

  • Figless

    Regarding the related PR Poll asking which would have greatest impact on fight against illegal drugs, I would vote for none of the above. Timely enforced stricter penalties would be more effective than any of the options provided.

    • johnnyknj

      What the poll needs is an “all of the above” choice.

      • Figless

        That too.

    • Quinnbt

      In 100% agreement with you. The problem with timely enforcement of rules is not restricted to horseracing, it is the prevailing mentality in the United States.

      • Figless

        Some sports are now suspending while on appeal, for domestic violence for instance, so minor strides are being made. Tough to do with racing, but there is no reason it should take 6 months to hear an appeal, for instance, there simply isnt that much relevant evidence.

        And amazingly they are always ready to hear the case the day after the Breeders Cup, or even drop their appeal to take their winter vacation.

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