RMTC Committee Statement On Threshold Levels For Therapeutic Drugs

by | 02.19.2016 | 3:39pm

To assist veterinarians in the medical treatment of racehorses, the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) created a Controlled Therapeutic Substances (CTS) list. The CTS list sets forth therapeutic medications that veterinarians can use, together with defined regulatory thresholds and withdrawal times.

Some in the horseracing industry are questioning several regulatory thresholds set forth in the CTS list by alleging a lack of supporting documentation in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Those questioning the CTS list in this manner are misrepresenting the facts. What follows is an explanation of the scientific process behind the CTS thresholds, including background on the role of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium's (RMTC) Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) in developing the CTS list.

The SAC includes regulatory and private veterinarians, racing chemists and veterinary pharmacologists with over 300 combined years of experience in horseracing. The SAC members are recognized scientific experts in their respective fields.

In connection with the development of the CTS list, the SAC reviewed all contemporaneously available data and historical regulatory experience to make scientifically-based recommendations to the RCI for the thresholds found in that list. The SAC continually updates these recommendations with new information as it becomes available. When necessary, the SAC recommends and the RMTC funds additional research on these substances. With SAC guidance, the RMTC has invested more than $2.5 million in industry dollars for drug testing research since its inception.

Published research or pre-publication data available to the SAC support a majority of regulatory thresholds in the CTS list. In the few cases where the SAC based its recommendations on historical information, the SAC actively performs or facilitates studies to support or modify these recommendations. Moreover, the SAC works diligently to encourage the expeditious publication of all of its members' scientific research supporting the CTS list.

Regardless of publication status, SAC recommendations are peer-reviewed by all 16 members of the committee. The typical peer-reviewed scientific process relies on only 1-4 reviewers. The RMTC process, with 16 reviewers, represents a much broader review than that of any scientific journal.

The SAC provides a dynamic and responsive approach to address the ongoing challenges of a rapidly-evolving medication landscape in horseracing. The SAC thanks all industry stakeholders for their ongoing support and commitment to this important mission.


Dr. Scott Hay
Dr. Scott Stanley
Dr. Rick Arthur
Dr. Jeff Blea
Dr. Adam Chambers
Dr. Anthony Fontana
Petra Hartmann
Dr. Norm Hester
Dr. Lynn Hovda
Al Kind
Dr. Heather Knych
Dr. Foster Northrop
Dr. Scott Palmer
Dr. Mary Robinson
Dr. Rick Sams
Dr. Mary Scollay

A list of the SAC member affiliations and horse racing experience is available on the RMTC website at rmtcnet.com.

The RMTC consists of 23 racing industry stakeholders and organizations that represent Thoroughbred, Standardbred, American Quarter Horse and Arabian racing. The organization works to develop and promote uniform rules, policies and testing standards at the national level; coordinate research and educational programs that seek to ensure the integrity of racing and the health and welfare of racehorses and participants; and protect the interests of the racing public.

  • Evan

    If a study isn’t peer reviewed it essentially has almost no value in the scientific community until it has been been given the chance to be peer reviewed

    • Alex

      The Tod Pletcher case at Delaware Park where Princess of Sylmar was disqualified for testing positive by ARCI’S MODEL RULES on Threshoolds developed by the RMTC in The Deleware Handicap for Betamethasone was thrown out.
      Tod Pletcher’s attorney Karen Murphy said “You cannot defend a regulation without peer-reviewed science ” since the RMTC COULDN’T PRODUCE HOW THEY DEVELOP THEIR THRESHOLDS AND WITHDRAW TIMES WITH SCIENCE, Pletcher’s case for Betamethasone was thrown out.

      • ben

        I,ve said and wrote before: A zero treshold level will fix all them troubles.

        No RMTC needed just the ARCI. A small change in the rules book is all what is needed.

        • JW

          Blabbering Ben you strike again. Why don’t you stop with your mindlessly foolish talk. You said “A zero treshold level will fix all them troubles.” Zero Thresholds or Zero Tolerance is a myth. I will try to make this easier for you to understand. We don’t have a world that is completely sterile and free of environmental contaminants. The Air, Water, Soil, Grass, Hay,Oats, etc. all have minuscule amounts of environmental contaminants including pharmaceutical drugs. Even if a horse was never in their entire life received any medications at all this horse would test positive at the pico gram level (In today’s Chemistry this ultra sensitive level is common place ) for multiple drugs due to environmental contamination. If a medication is ever given to a horse to help a wound heel, treat a fever or illness, some portion of that medication will be in the horse’s body for the horse’s entire life, than in the horse’s carcass after death.

          • ben

            Listen up Baby Cry, I know more than enough about contamination.

            Iknow terribly well that the body will store every drug ever used. But iam arguiing till death that the body will store even pic,s for things than have not been administrated.,

            What I know that there are quite a group of people that rely completely on med,s. Why is Gina Rarick the one that trains in France able to race without lasix, and when horses are scoped they are as clean as a whistle. The latest study in Fla, supported by the Fl HBPA, was trying to believe that al most every horse bled.

            Why are we able to race and train according the IFHA rules. I just do think that we are living on different planet,s.

          • Shannon

            Ben, most horses bled, unfortunately this is just not reported.
            When horses are scoped here in Scotland our practice has found a great percentage ( more than 90%) of horses have Exercise Induce Pulmonary Hemorrhage (Bled) to various degress. It’s fair to say when we see blood in horses trachea, this information is rarely reported to officals. If all these horses that we scoped and found to have bled was reported, we would have little racing. This is an ethical problem that should not be. These problems were discussed when I was at The Royal Veterinary College, Racing rules handicap us doing what we should be doing for many many horses.

          • Shannon

            When people are claiming for “zero thresholds ” which doesn’t exist. It is a reflection of just how little understanding many people have of the most basic science, technology, engineering, and math.

      • ben

        Nice to read something did you not forget your alter ego ( known as Lynn at the Bloodhorse)

        • Alex

          If you are referring to Dr. Lynn… which I believe you are. I met her twice, when she gave testimony to a subcommittee of the U.S. Congress, and at continueing education conference. Can’t say we’re buds, but have respect.

          • Ben

            Both (You and Lynn), are given the same response over and over again,

            Both here on Paulick report and on the Bloodhorse.

    • ben

      If you are against the outcome from a study. It is easy to undermine that study in a peer reveiw.

      • Tom

        It is not a for or against. The problem is that there hasn’t been a peer review of the RMTC data and methods used to develop many of their thresholds.

        • ben

          There has been, the names are published The RMTC SAC.

          But probably the names on the list are not supported by the HBPA.

          • Tom


  • Guest

    There are not enough peer reviewed studies because there is not enough money to fund them. You can’t compare equine sports medicine to what is available to humans.

    • JW

      The big issue here is The Racing Medication Testing Concortium RMTC, the organization who developed thresholds for the Association of Racing Commisoners International ARCI, will not release the data on how they arrived at many of their threshold levels. If there’s no problem with their work, then there should be no problem with release of their work that set these thresholds.

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