With Perretti Farms announcing a complete dispersal sale this year, ceasing operation as a standardbred breeding farm (the farm is up for sale) to focus on racing thoroughbreds, the last vestiges of the old Meadowlands is consigned to the dust bin.
In reality, with the exception of the name, the farm had already died, sending their stallions to Pennsylvania for breeding opportunities. However, with the farm closing up and the broodmares heading to auction, there is no denial if the Meadowlands depends on NJ-sired racing stock to provide quality racing, it will be in trouble. The success of the Meadowlands in attracting better racing will depend on its ability to attract horses from other states.
The USTA has announced it has dropped out from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC), no longer contributing $100,000 a year towards its operation, claiming their medication recommendations are slanted towards the thoroughbred. The industry is also asking ARCI to freeze the medication rules for standardbreds so the breeds will have individual uniform-standards. There is no doubt the testing has been biased towards the thoroughbreds, when you consider the size of donations to the RMTC by the thoroughbred industry as well a the number of thoroughbreds racing in a given year. The question is does it matter?
The standardbred industry claims the standardbred is sufficiently different from the thoroughbred both in breeding and use so medication rules need to be different for the two breeds. Well, I am no expert when it comes to breeding and pharmaceuticals, but horses come from the same genetic family, equine. While the dosage may change based on size of the animal, clenbuterol acts the same on a horse, regardless of the breed So it basically boils down to whether allowing a medication which has a steroidal effect on all horses, is acceptable for standardbreds, not thoroughbreds. According to the RMTC, the answer is no; it is just a question of horsemen not looking to change what they are doing.
The real problem lies in the fact the RCI plans to depend on the RMTC regardless of the USTA's funding so unless the RCI acquiesces to the standardbred industry, we may end up with a single set of medication rules where the standardbred industry has no say in their development.
I understand the USTA's concerns, likely addressing the concerns of their members. One has to wonder whether lobbying the RMTC more would have been a better decision than dropping out of the RMTC and have no say in what they are doing.,
UPDATE: I received a response to this blog entry regarding my comments stating the argument over clenbuterol is a case of the stamdardbred horsemen not wanting to change what they are doing. It is obvious that my comments were made without hearing from both sides; one thing which is clear is the standardbred horsemen use clenbuterol for different purposes than the thoroughbred horsemen.
I would now say while it looks bad that the USTA is pulling out of the RMTC and are looking for separate medication rules, there are valid reasons for this being done. I am seeking permission to post the email I received which explains these things as I believe the standardbred industry's case has not been fully expressed in the media (at least as of now).
I will take my lumps on this one and apologize to the USTA for speaking out before seeking out more details.