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Sunday, September 29, 2013

VFTRG Takes Its Lumps

You may have noticed I had provided an update with regards to my comments about the USTA's withdrawal from the RMTC.  In my update I indicated I received a response which made me rethink my position.  I also indicated I was seeking permission from the writer of the letter (email) sent to me to publish its contents.  He has graciously granted his permission and I am publishing his comments 'as is'.  So while I am taking my lumps here, it is more important for those of us who are fans to get the hows and whys than worry about my pride. 

One thing I strive for is being fair; I have no problem taking my lumps when I am wrong.

Someone sent me a copy of your latest blog and while I understand blogging doesn't require fact checking here are some facts you might have found if you had waited to make negative comments:

For years both breeds used clenbuterol post race to clear air passages of minor bleeding and other nasal congestion. Thoroughbreds used it a little more extensively than harness for other things but not so much as to create alarm. Every veterinarian at the recent RMTC agreed it was an EXCELLENT drug used correctly.

Harness still uses it post race for a couple of days in limited doses. Then because we race weekly it is withdrawn until after the next race. A three to five day withdrawal has been used for a long time.

Now let's get to your comment that it affects all horses with the same steroidal effect because of genetics. The thoroughbred problem is all about steroids and the harness is not. Genetics has nothing to do with it. After anabolic steroids were banned the quarter horses and thoroughbred horsemen remembered clenbuterol in LARGE SUSTAINED doses would mimic anabolic steroids. No one seems to be sure to what extent. So what have they done? They give doses twice daily for six weeks and it obviously creates steroidal problems. After receiving complaints from some TB and QH horsemen the RMTC looked at the problem and decided for a horse treated with long tern concentrated clenbuterol they would need a 14 day withdrawal time to pass the test. Actually I don't think the 14 days is real scientific as the RMTC debated 14, 21 and 28 before settling on 14. Nor do I think they even realized harness horses race weekly.IT IS DOSAGE NOT GENETICS.

Unfortunately, for harness racing 14 days eliminates its use. We seldom have 14 days. For years no problems and very few positives. There has been no acceptable substitute suggested and really why should one be needed when even the people on RMTC agree it is a great drug when used for Bronchial purposes.

I think we can compare the situation to the old medical adage that a glass of wine occasionally is good for you but a bottle a day will kill you. Actually that is what the AAEP says about clenbuterol.  Harness follows that warning and now we lose clenbuterol - a praised drug used properly - and the thoroughbreds are encouraged to use it at will for the wrong reason.  It makes no sense to me..

A couple of other comments - the studies I have read and comments from racing chemists say the main muscular value is for the quick twitch muscles in TBs and especially QH and would have little effect on the distance type of muscles in Standardbreds.

There is no evidence that the way harness administers clenbuterol has even the slightest steroidal affect.

With regard to your last comment we have been discussing this issue with RMTC for some time. In fact Mike Tanner and I went to their latest meeting in Denver less than two weeks ago and spent well over an hour presenting our case. For the most part they seemed to agree with our presentation and agreed for the scientific committee to reconsider and to see if there is a solution. No promises were made. That sounded promising but what happened next wasn't.


I waited a week and talked to someone on the committee to see if anything was happening on our subject. The answer was not yet. Therefore with RMTC's push to get racing commissions passage we decided we needed to express our views before the rules were passed because of our silence. Once passed the ball game is over.

Contrary to your statement our stance has nothing to do with resisting change. Why should a great therapeutic drug be denied to harness because another breed abuses it.

We are for uniform rules (and tough ones) but it is apparent the breed differences are too great for us to fit under one umbrella. Mr Ed was wrong - a horse is not a horse of course.

I would hope in the future you might consider asking questions before castigating us.

Phil Langley

Some other facts which are not part of the letter and are not quotes: 

The RMTC talks about an alternative to clenbuterol.  The alternative they talk about mostly is Albuterol, a drug which is banned in many states.  

Before the RMTC came out with their recommendations and even now, Clenbuterol is widely recognized as the perfect drug for its proper use. It has never been a problem for many years when given proper doses.  The problem comes when you sue outlandish doess.  The RMTC only ran test on a few (15 - 20) horses receiving the outlandish doses. No doubt that study showed steroidal results. Why punish the standardbred industry which is using the medication properly and safely because another breed abuses it? 

Prior to withdrawing from the RMTC, the USTA has been providing roughly 16% of their operating budget.  While the USTA has withdrawn from the RMTC, it continues to work with Dr. Soma in Pennsylvania in developing tough medication rules for standardbreds.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe one day you'll also realize that your views on eliminating Lasix are just as flawed ;)