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Thursday, November 7, 2013

USTA Forms A Medication Advisory Committee

After realizing the RMTC and ARCI was biased towards the thoroughbred industry, President of the USTA Phil Langley has appointed a Medications Advisory Committee to address medication issues as it applies to the standardbred industry.

Biased admittedly may be too harsh of a word to describe the RMTC.  A better term may be stacked in favor of the thoroughbred industry.  In some ways it is understandable in there is more thoroughbred racing than there is harness and quite honestly, the problems in the thoroughbred industry got the most headlines.  The problem of one set of rules for medication is the fact the breeds don't race on the same schedule.  Drugs such as clenbuterol and corticosteroids could be withdrawn sooner in thoroughbred racing because their horses may race every three weeks while the standardbred races on a weekly basis so even if the medication was given after a standardbred raced, it had the potential of being a violation of the 'one size fits all rules',  In addition, the medications which appear to be being used legitimately by standardbred trainers with few violations were being abused by thoroughbred trainers.

It is a shame that the USTA has found itself in this position, but at least it is taking steps to ensure the breed gets to present their views in the future before regulators try to pigeon hole standardbreds as if they are the same as their running cousins.

Medication rules need to be tough.  However, they also need to be appropriate.  Medication rules need to be standardized between states, not by one size fits all breeds.

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