Backside Portland Meadows

Racing Commissioners meet to discuss medications and rules regulating veterinarians

Backside Portland Meadows
On the backside at Portland Meadows, racehorses while away the afternoon.

The Ray Paulick Report features an article on the annual conference hosted by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) taking place in Oklahoma City.

The topics dominating the meeting are medications administered to racehorses and the rules regulating veterinarians.

This quote caught my eye:

“Our current enforcement is focused on ensuring that no horse has an unfair advantage on race day. The overwhelming majority of medication violations in racing are for legal substances administered by licensed professional veterinarians. While a commission can suspend or revoke a racing license for a violation of the rules of racing, the ability to suspend or revoke a license to practice veterinary medicine for the inappropriate use of medications to facilitate the running of a horse that should not be allowed to run is beyond the authority of most commissions,” he said.

What stands out as highly encouraging in that quote is the conference is taking a look at injury masking drugs. This is a critical issue often overlooked in the hotly debated topic of racehorse medication policies.

Read full article here >>

4 thoughts on “Racing Commissioners meet to discuss medications and rules regulating veterinarians”

  1. Not every racetrack is run the same way. Not everyone obeys the rules. That is evident. Not everyone who continually breaks these rules are punished. That is also evident. The number of breakdowns and deaths, which can of course be attributed to several issues other than injury-masking drugs, is clear evidence that the US horse racing industry needs a major overhaul. Bute and Lasix are only the tip of the racehorse medication iceberg. Then there are other “therapy” treatments long banned for their cruelty.

    The US horse racing industry thumbs its nose at these issues to its continued peril. What a shame. The US should lead the way in 1st class horse racing but it clearly does not and never will as long as the good allow the bad to dominate the sport. That includes those at the top of these ignominious governing bodies who contribute absolutely nothing positive to horse racing while lining their pockets. What a disgrace.


    1. Catastrophic breakdowns are most easily attributed to footing surface. Fewest break downs occur on turf, then synthetic, then dirt. However, other contributing factors “seem” to be difficulty in starting (breaking through the gate before the start, rearing and refusing to load, bucking and kicking in the gate) and shoeing. The catastrophic breakdowns in Dubai were on turf. There WAS a rerun of the Feature race after a horse broke down on the track in the initial start. Two more broke down then. My vet is the track vet at Los Alamitos. He just told me anacdotal information that in his experience, bad starts lead to more break downs than anything else. Los Alamitos is run on dirt and Quarter Horses run much faster than Thoroughbreds for shorter distances. The break down rate with Quarter Horses is low. Synthetic surface causes more hind limb injuries, back issues and soft tissue injuries. This is true in other disciplines such as show jumping.


      1. Interesting about the gates. Horses do not break from the stalls as quickly in English / European racing as the US. Not sure about Hong Kong; long time since I have been there. I was in Dubai when Goldolphin was developed. I am very surprised what happened there. Doubt if we will ever get much more information about it than what was released for public consumption.

        Jumps racing is a whole other game, and use the standing start. But look at the breakdowns there. Too many runners for the width of the course / fences is usually the answer there.

        Insofar as surfaces, some appear to be better than others, but there is the maintenance issue. Just came back from a trip to Keeneland where they are very well managed, so that was nice to see.

        You may be interested in reading our in depth reports on various horse racing issues. Just the US Thoroughbred racing for now. . We are tackling Quarter Horse racing next year.


  2. The drugs which are given by a veterinarian which fall under these rules are simple timing errors. Salix (Lasix) must be given 5 hours in advance. If the vet is late for some reason, the horse comes back with an illegal test. There are strict limits on the amount of anti inflammatories which can be administered. The withdrawal times are mere estimates (rule of thumb is 1 gm bute 12 hours ahead) and sometimes the medication does not clear the system as expected. They are not giving these horses massive doses of pain killers! EVERYONE KNOWS they are subject to test!


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