Florida Governor Signs Race-Day Medication Legislation

by | 06.02.2015 | 4:59pm

Florida Governor Rick Scott signed HB 239 relating to Medication and Testing of Racing Animals today, June 2, 2015. Effective July 1, 2015, the bill will dramatically change Chapter 550.2415, Florida Statutes, which has governed the use of Florida Thoroughbred race-day medication for more than 25 years.

The product of strong advocacy by the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association, the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association and the Jockey Club, a national Thoroughbred racing governance organization, HB 239 requires the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to adopt rules regarding the use and allowed levels of medications, drugs, and naturally occurring substances in racing animals, as listed by the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

“Indeed, Florida was known throughout the horse racing industry as ‘the obstructionist state' in the efforts toward national uniformity,” explained FHBPA Executive Director Kent Stirling, a Board member of the Racing and Medication Testing Consortium and a national authority on race-day medication who has testified on the issue before Congress. “The fact is that any change required an act of the Legislature. Even though pari-mutuel issues are notoriously contentious in Florida, this is one area where everyone agreed.”

“The consensus on HB 239 represents the interests of nearly 10,000 Thoroughbred and American Quarter Horse owners, trainers and racehorse breeders who conduct business in Florida. It's an timely statement on the importance of professional horsemen's associations in the legislative, regulatory and racing operations process.” said FHBPA President Bill White. “We are sincerely appreciative to State Representatives Heather Fitzhagen and Charlie Stone, as well as their Senate colleagues Jack Latvala and Eleanor Sobel for their forward thinking in protecting our valuable racing animals.”

To read a legislative summary of HB 239, click here.

For a horsemen's explanation of the bill's provisions, click here.

  • Peyton

    It seems to me that FLA has adopted this so it appears that if there is uniformity in rules then everything is fine. The real problem is not that the rules are non uniform across jurisdictions, but rather that the enforcement in individual jurisdictions is lacking. It’s like the cheaters are saying it’s not reasonable for them to have to abide by each state’s rules because that is just too hard for them. To my mind, making all the rules the same is not the answer to racing’s problem with this drug cheating. Enforcement of whatever rules are in place in a jurisdiction is more important.

    • Lynn

      Uniform rules are useless without uniform testing.
      R.M.TC. certification has proven to be worthless.
      Truesdail lab is is R.M.T.C. certified but still fails to find lots of things.
      Also states need to test all samples collected instead of the common practice of only testing a few of the post race samples collected on any given day.
      Further every post race sample, repeat every post race sample should be tested both qualitatively and quantitatively at the same level.

      • LongTimeEconomist

        Good idea, but how would you pay for it?

  • Jay Stone

    The Florida legislature should be lauded for coming into the 21st-century with its medication rules. It took a lot of people working together to get this done. The big problem from here on in will be the enforcement of these new rules. Rules a great but until there is strict enforcement there is still a major problem. Let’s hope this is a beginning.

    • Alex

      You’re correct in that enforcement of these new rules and regulations is needed.Not a good bet the government regulators will be up to the task. What happens to regulators and government employees when they fail to do their job. Very little; they may even get a bonus and promotions.

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