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2011 report on 2010 drug violations 2
DRUGS IN U.S. RACING - 2010
With more rigorous standards than the Olympics, professional horse racing has the most aggressive drug testing program in professional sports, testing for more substances with greater sensitivity than anyone else.
September 1, 2011 Copyright: 2011. Association of Racing Commissioners International.
• Horse racing is subjected to the most aggressive drug testing program of any profes- sional sport, testing for more substances with greater sensitivity; • 324,215 biological samples taken from racing horses were submitted to testing labs in • Less than one half of one percent (.493%) of those tested samples were found to con- tain a substance not allowed by racing's medication rules; • Of those, 94% were overages of legal therapeutic medications at concentrations in excess of permitted levels. These medications are used routinely in equine care by licensed veterinarians and cannot be equated with "horse doping"; • Only 47 of the over 320,000 samples tested in 2010 contained a Class 1 or Class 2 substance that could qualify for the term "horse doping". • Possible "Horse doping" accounted for 0.015% of total samples tested. Such in- stances have remained rare for the past ten years despite dramatic increases in test-ing sensitivity.
• Overall violations of the medication rules in 2010 were 20% less than 2001.
• The $35 million collective investment by the US state racing commissions on drug testing dwarfs the entire $26 million budget for the World Anti-Doping Agency. • Claims that illegal drugs are "rampant", "endemic", "widespread" in horse racing are not consistent with the facts, although illegal drug use does exist and there is an ongoing need to support efforts to detect and punish those responsible.
1 See Classification definitions later in this document.
On May 5, 2011, the front page of USA Today was headlined "Chemical Warfare in Horse Racing Targeted". The article was prompted by the comments of a prominent public of-ficial who declared that "Chemical warfare is rampant on American racetracks". Such sala-cious comments create an undeserved negative perception of a sport that is responsible for the employment of over 380,000 people across the country.
There has been much written or claimed about the extent to which professional horse racing has a drug problem. Surely there is a challenge as equine care has evolved to be more medication reliant in the same way human care has. Today, legal medications are often pre-scribed by physicians and veterinarians to improve the health and quality of life for people and This conventional reliance on legal medication presents a challenge for racing regulators who must ensure compliance with the rules protecting the public and the horse. Many who have been widely quoted on this issue have not had access to the data contained in this report. This data, obtained from state regulatory bodies, represents an unbiased view of the extent to which drug violations actually occur in the sport.
It has long been acknowledged that professional horse racing - thoroughbred, standard- bred, and quarter horse contests - are aggressively regulated by the states because pari-mutuel wagering on the outcome of these contests has been an authorized and limited form of gam-bling originally intended to support rural and agricultural economies. The "anti-doping" standards in horse racing are more aggressive than those deployed in the Olympics. In fact, the worldwide annual drug testing budget of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is dwarfed considerably by the collective investment made by the state racing commissions in just one country, the United States. U.S. state racing commissions commit over $35 million annually to directly test for medication violations. By comparison, the World Anti- Doping Agency's world-wide effort relies on $26 million in funding. The financial statements published on their website reveal that of that amount, $1.6 million is specifically earmarked for testing fees. Horse racing's anti-doping program tests for more substances at deeper levels than any other professional sport. These facts are inexplicably ignored by many who wish to opine on this matter and have been successful in drawing attention to their assertions by spinning nega- tive headlines about the sport. The perception created is not consistent with the facts. In 2010, 324,215 biological samples were taken and tested.esults show that 99.51% of those samples were found to contain no foreign or prohibited substance. In other words only less than one half of one percent of all samples tested was found to have contained a substance in violation of the rules. An examination of racing commission data also reveals that in those relatively rare in- stances when a violation of a medication rule does occur, most were associated with a legal sub-stance administered in the normal course of equine care by a licensed veterinarian and cannot be characterized as "horse doping" or as indicative of a "drugging". Those substances that could legitimately be construed as a "horse doping"- fication Categories I and II) represent just 47 instances out of 324,215 samples tested in 2010. That is less than two one hundredths of one percent (0.015%). The use of terms like "rampant", "endemic", "widespread", "chemical warfare", or "racing's drug addiction" do the sport and the tens of thousands of families who rely on it a great disservice. For testing, racing commissions retain professional laboratories who are subject to com- mission oversight as well as quality assurance programs. ! In addition, laboratory findings are subject to review by an independent reference laboratory as well as adjudicatory appeal. In 2010, as in previous years, we are not aware of any laboratory finding that was determined to be invalid. 2 Thirty-two US racing regulatory jurisdictions responded to the association's survey. 3 In many cases actual violations are determined based on the testing result of a plasma and urine sample. Violations noted in this report are equine related. 4 Some Class 2 positives can be for therapeutic drugs that could be a medication error and not qualify as a "doping"; Some Class 1 positives are unintentional secondary contaminations; some positives are associated with human drug abuse and due to the sensitivity of the testing substances are detected in horses these individuals have come in con-tact with. 2010 Samples Tested and Results:
Delaware Thoroughbred All US Jurisdictions: 2010 Nationwide in the United States:
Substance Detected 2010 Top Four Racing States:
New York: 52,748 tests
California: 40,470 tests
New Jersey: 39,196 tests
Pennsylvania: 37,114 tests
2010 Substance Violations:
In 2010, according to the records submitted to the RCI database by the individual state racing commissions, there were 795 violations of the medication rules found from 324,215 sam-ples tested. The distribution of the severity of the violations are noted below with some varia-tions year to year but nothing to justify a claim of a trend upwards or downwards.
2010 Positives by Classification
Doping vs. Overage:
Considering that Class I and Class II violations can best be described as "doping" others characterized as therapeutic overages of legal substances the following chart should put the results of the drug testing program in proper context. Again, it is important to note that the doping rate is 0.015% of all samples tested, an extremely rare occurrence. Ninety-four percent of the horses found to be in violation of the medication rules in 2010 were cited for a substance with less capacity to affect performance than those that would qualify as doping agents. Of those, 72% are for violations of Class IV substances with even less potential to affect perform-ance, if at all.
Doping vs Therapeutic Medication Overage
Therapeutic Overage 5 The applicability of this term to a specific case depends totally on the facts presented in that case. This term is used as a general characterization and may not be applicable to all violations found in this category as noted in Footnote 4.
An analysis of the data from 2001 through 2010 reveals no prevailing pattern concerning the number or severity of violations of racing medication and doping rules. Violations remain relatively rare and this has remained constant over the past decade. It is important to note that total medication rule violations in 2010 were 20% less than the 2001 violations.
Ten Year Violation Trends by Classification
Years 2001 thru 2010 10 Year Doping vs. Therapeutic Medication Overage
10 Year Total Violations
The United States is one of several nations where the raceday use of the diuretic fu- rosemide is permitted. This medication, used to reduce instances of exercise induced pulmo-nary hemorrhage (EIPH), is allowed under strict conditions requiring administration no less than four hours prior to the race. For the purpose of this report we handled violations of the furosemide rule separately as a trainer can be cited for not having the medication in his horse as well as for an overage. Furosemide violations should not be considered "horse doping".
Use of furosemide is disclosed to the public in the racing program and while there is an ability to affect performance in some - but not all - horses, the public policy is not restrictive in allowing veterinarians to qualify a horse to receive this treatment based on the detection of mi-nor levels of EIPH. Since most horses race with furosemide it is a disservice to the sport to contend that one horse has an unfair advantage over another in a particular contest.
EIPH is the only equine condition that has warranted an exception to permit a prophy- lactic treatment on race day with medication. It is wrong to equate the use of this medication to paint a picture that racing is "drug ridden". ! In 2010 there were 36 violations of the furosemide rules out of 324,215 samples tested. The 2010 instances of furosemide violations are 33% less than in 2001. The trend has been generally downward. It is important to remember, as with all statistics in this report, that the instances of a violation of racing medication rules are not a frequent occurrence, represent-ing one half of one percent of all samples tested.
10 Year Furosemide Violations
2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 Drug Testing Challenges:
The statistics in this report should not be interpreted to say that there are not challenges facing horse racing's drug testing program. New substances are developed each year and there are individuals willing to use them on a horse in an attempt to enhance performance or cheat. Those who administer substances that would never be condoned by a licensed veterinarian must be caught and properly sanctioned. To do this investments in research and investigations are essential if racing's drug testing program is to remain as strong as it is today.
State budget constraints are putting pressure on commission resources and can limit the amount of research and intelligence gathering activities that are possible. This challenge has been met, in part, by the racing industry through its investment in the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and the tracks specifically through their continued investment in the Thor-oughbred Racing Protective Bureau (TRPB). The U.S. Jockey Club has made considerable in-vestment in projects to enhance integrity, support commissions, and better protect the welfare of the sport's equine athletes. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Safety and Integ- rity Alliance also makes a positive commitment to racing integrity through its investment in race track accreditation.
These efforts do not mitigate the need to ensure that racing commissions have adequate resources available to maintain an expansive and effective drug testing program that can evolve as scientific advances are made in both testing technology and equine care. ! The statistics contained in this report were provided to the Association of Racing Commissioners Interna- tional (RCI) directly by individual state racing commissions through their management and submission of violation data contained in the RCI database or in response to specific requests form RCI staff. In some cases, information has been obtained indirectly through published annual reports. Questions concerning specific jurisdictions should be directed to that jurisdiction. No statement in this report is intended to be indicative of a specific motive or lack thereof of any individual who is alleged to have violated a racing medication rule. Statements made in this report are designed to make a general assessment as to the extent of drug violations in professional horse racing. Informa-tion requests on specific violations or individuals should be directed to the appropriate regulatory entity. RCI is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) providing services and information to government racing regulators. RCI is not liable for any errors contained in this report which has relied on information obtained from third party state racing commis-sions. Class 1: Stimulant and depressant drugs that have the highest potential to affect perform-
ance and that have no generally accepted medical use in the racing horse. Many of these
agents are Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) schedule II substances. These include the fol-
lowing drugs and their metabolites: Opiates, opium derivatives, synthetic opioids and psy-
choactive drugs, amphetamines and amphetamine-like drugs as well as related drugs, includ-
ing but not limited to apomorphine, nikethamide, mazindol, pemoline, and pentylenetetrazol.
Though not used as therapeutic agents, all DEA Schedule 1 agents are included in Class 1
because they are potent stimulant or depressant substances with psychotropic and often ha-
Class 2: Drugs that have a high potential to affect performance, but less of a potential than
drugs in Class 1. These drugs are 1) not generally accepted as therapeutic agents in racing
horses, or 2) they are therapeutic agents that have a high potential for abuse. Drugs in this
class include: psychotropic drugs, certain nervous system and cardiovascular system stimu-
lants, depressants, and neuromuscular blocking agents. Injectable local anesthetics are in-
cluded in this class because of their high potential for abuse as nerve blocking agents.
Class 3: Drugs that may or may not have generally accepted medical use in the racing
horse, but the pharmacology of which suggests less potential to affect performance than
drugs in Class 2. Drugs in this class include bronchodilators, anabolic steroids and other
drugs with primary effects on the autonomic nervous system, procaine, antihistamines with
sedative properties and the high-ceiling diuretics.
Class 4: This class includes therapeutic medications that would be expected to have less
potential to affect performance than those in Class 3. Drugs in this class includes less potent
diuretics; corticosteroids; antihistamines and skeletal muscle relaxants without prominent
central nervous system (CNS) effects; expectorants and mucolytics; hemostatics; cardiac gly-
cosides and anti-arrhythmics; topical anesthetics; antidiarrheals and mild analgesics. This
class also includes the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), at concentrations
greater than established limits.
Class 5: This class includes those therapeutic medications for which concentration limits
have been established by the racing jurisdictions as well as certain miscellaneous agents and
other medications as determined by the regulatory bodies. Included specifically are agents
that have very localized actions only, such as anti-ulcer drugs, and certain anti-allergic drugs.
The anticoagulant drugs are also included.
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