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Doping guru Catlin speaks at WTC

August 05, 2011

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Delegates to the 22nd World Trotting Conference, which convened in Jersey City, NJ on Friday, turned their attention to integrity and regulation.
International cooperation was discussed by Dr. Don Catlin, founder and chief executive of Advanced Doping Research, one of the world’s leading authorities on blood doping, who serves both the Olympic and racing communities. Catlin observed that the World Anti Doping Agency should serve as a model for racing, and that there needs to be an equine anti-doping code, armed with sufficient punishment to deter wrong-doers. 
“Punishment works,” Catlin said. “For human violations a penalty of two years suspension has been a real deterrent.

“Racing needs a WADA-like organization, or perhaps collaboration with WADA, but you also have to realize that drugs are here to stay, and you have to get used to that.

Scot Waterman spoke about the state of drug testing in the U.S. Waterman, former director of the Racing Medication Testing Consortium and now an industry consultant, spoke about the state of drug testing in the U.S., but also turned his attention to the international scope of the problem.

“The problem (of finding illicit medications) is international in scope,” Waterman observed. “The Internet has made access to things a bit easier, and the threat we face comes in part from the substances we don’t even know about -- yet. None of us, individually, has enough money to solve the problem, meaning international collaboration is a must.”

John Blakney, executive director of the Ontario Racing Commission, agreed. 

“I would propose that this body (The International Trotting Association) hear my proposal for ‘IRIIS’ -- the International Racing Intelligence Information System,” Blakney said. “I believe this group should develop a working group, and from there develop a plan and determine the level of funding.” 

Ed Martin, president and CEO of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, also joined the call for worldwide cooperation on substance intelligence. 

“We don’t have a runaway drug problem in racing,” Martin said. “We have a drug challenge, but you should remember that our anti-drugging rules are even more stringent than the Olympics. States conducted 309,000 equine drug tests last year and only 200 tested positive for substances that you could say were there to change the outcome of a race.” 

Another speaker, Mike Hall, presiding judge at Harrah’s Chester, spoke about the Racing Officials Accreditation Program, supported industry-wide and in part by the U.S. Trotting Association, which puts sitting race officials through stringent continuing education seminars designed to elevate the quality of race officiating. Hall invited the international community to join ROAP and to send their officials to schools in the United States. 

Following an afternoon of committee meetings, the delegates will depart for Empire City at Yonkers Raceway to witness the final round of the 25th World Driving Championship. On Saturday delegates will all travel to Meadowlands Racetrack to enjoy the Hambletonian Day races -- before reconvening for a day to discuss marketing the racing product on Sunday. 

For more information on the World Trotting Conference, click on this link.—By John Pawlak/USTA

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