The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Wednesday afternoon voted to adopt the uniform drug, medication and substance classification recommended by the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium (RMTC), rules that apply to all breeds of horse racing.
Most of the pre-vote discussion among the commissioners was about the bonding of Standardbreds with other breeds, most specifically regarding the withdrawal times for the bronchodilator clenbuterol and corticosteroids. Commissioner Alan Leavitt, president of Walnut Hall Ltd. and the only Standardbred interest on the commission, said to change those withdrawal times would be a "very big blow to harness racing in Kentucky.”
The RMTC guidelines adopted center around 24 controlled therapeutic medications. The new guidelines call for the withdrawal time for corticosteroids to change from three days to seven days of racing, while the withdrawal time for clenbuterol will go from 72 hours to 14 days. Leavitt argued unsuccessfully that Standardbreds need to be separated on those two drugs because of the frequency of racing harness horses.
"We believe in uniformity but we think it should be by breed,” said Leavitt. "The two breeds are totally different.”
The commission voted by breed to adopt the RMTC rules, and the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse regulations passed by a vote of 11-0 with Leavitt abstaining. The Standardbred vote was passed by a vote of 10-2, with Leavitt and Thoroughbred owner Thomas Conway voting against.
According to graphics provided at the meeting, which was held at the Rolex Hospitality Room at the Kentucky Horse Park, the following states have or are contemplating adopting the rules: Illinois; Indiana; Maryland; Massachusetts; Minnesota; New Jersey; and Pennsylvania. The following three states are contemplating having breed specific rules: Delaware, New York and Ohio.
It was noted that Pennsylvania has separate breed commissions, as does Delaware.