On Jan. 16, the New Mexico Racing Commission (NMRC) Rules and Medication Committee voted to pass a rule that would make the drug albuterol a zero tolerance drug in the state of New Mexico. The new rule is intended to go into affect around May 1, 2019.
The anticipated ban on albuterol is not breed specific and would apply to both Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses, the same as New Mexico's rule regarding clenbuterol. The zero tolerance will be utilized for post-race testing as well as the out-of-competition testing program used by the NMRC.
Since the NMRC has been clamping down on the abuse of clenbuterol, there have been strong allegations that trainers have shifted their focus to albuterol in order to try and obtain an unfair advantage. That has been the focus of concern for those participating with integrity at New Mexico racetracks.
Albuterol and clenbuterol are on the Association of Racing Commissioners International's Controlled Therapeutic Medication Schedule. Both drugs have therapeutic value to treat respiratory problems but can be abused.
NMRC executive director Ismael “Izzy” Trejo said, “Consider this an official warning to those trainers that have been using albuterol in order to win races in New Mexico. We owe it to those who play the game fair and square and to those that bet on our races to continue our mission of cleaning up the racing product in New Mexico.”
As stated, the new rule would be utilized in both Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses. When the committee voted to make the rule breed specific to Quarter Horses, only three of the 19 members favored a breed-specific rule. The committee also voted to adopt version 14.0 of the Uniform Classification Guidelines and Recommended Penalties Model Rule of the Association of Racing Commissioners International.
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