News and Notes for March 21, 2014


CANTER is now offering its nationally-recognized service to Texas horseman with the opening of CANTER-Texas. Volunteers are visiting tracks to offer free sales listings that include a photo, a description and contact information, to trainers and owners looking to move their ex-racehorses – Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, Paint Horses and Arabian Horses – onto second careers.

“We sold our first horse through the free listing service in three days after we started posting horses for sale on the CANTER-Texas website,” said Laura Holmes, Executive Director, CANTER-Texas. “There has been very positive feedback from trainers and buyers who are looking forward to owning an ex-racehorse.  We are very excited to be able to provide this program to the Texas racing industry and help find new careers for these talented and versatile horses.”

CANTER-Texas volunteers will be serving racetracks in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.  Horses listed for sale will be available to the general public on

As reported in Blood-Horse, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium board of directors took several actions March 17 intended to further the process toward the nationwide adoption of uniform medication rules, penalties, and testing. 

The board, with respect to the “Schedule” of controlled therapeutic substances—the list of 24 medications at the center of the uniform medication rules—took the following actions:

—  adopted a detailed set of protocols for adding to or amending the original list of 24 medications;

—  recommended to the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) that the bronchodilator albuterol and the corticosteroid isoflupredone be added to the Schedule;

—   recommended to RCI a reduction in the threshold for the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory ketoprofen;

— recommended to RCI an increase in the withdrawal time guidance for the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory flunixin;

—  approved funding for the scientific analysis of five therapeutic medications at the request of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP); and

—  voted to join the AAEP in petitioning RCI to remove the restricted administration times and replace them with withdrawal guidance as originally proposed by the RMTC.

“These actions of the RMTC board, including recommendations to amend the schedule by adding two new medications to provide veterinary practitioners treatment alternatives and modifying the recommendations for two others, demonstrate what we have been telling the industry from the beginning: The uniform rules are not static but will be amended as new scientific research and development becomes available,” said RMTC chairman Alex Waldrop.

In response to recent media coverage that erroneously suggested the RMTC has changed course or retreated from an earlier position regarding substances not listed on the Schedule, the RMTC board affirmed its position that the Schedule does not preclude the use of medications other than those on the Schedule. However, in using non-Schedule medications, participants proceed at their own risk without the guidance provided with respect to medications found on the Schedule or the protections found in other parts of the uniform rules.

“The RMTC has not wavered from its original position regarding substances not on the list of controlled therapeutic medications,” said RMTC executive director Dr. Dionne Benson. “Specifically, RMTC has never advocated a zero-tolerance policy for these substances and encourages regulators to continue working toward the enactment of uniform rules, penalties, and testing.”

The RMTC board also affirmed its strong commitment to tactical research by approving a 2014 budget allocating significant funds targeting research into emerging threats to the integrity of racing, including (the drug known as) GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and the improper use of cobalt.

The RMTC board also voted at the meeting to recommend adding the corticosteroid isoflupredone to the approved list. The drug is being recommended at the request of the American Association of Equine Practitioners because of its efficacy in treating high-suspensory injuries, a type of malady that could not be effectively treated with any other drug on the approved list.

The RMTC has been pushing to more tightly regulate the use of corticosteroids, which are used to reduce inflammation, because of concerns over the ability of the drugs to mask problems if used close to a race and because chronic use of the drugs can lead to long-term damage in joints. The recommended withdrawal-time guideline on isoflupredone will be seven days.

Also at the board meeting, the RMTC board approved recommendations to tighten the regulation of two painkillers, flunixin and ketoprofen, as the result of more research into testing for the drugs. The RMTC will now recommend that the withdrawal-time guideline for flunixin be set at 32 hours, rather than 24 hours, and that testing laboratories set the 24-hour threshold for ketoprofen at 2 nanograms per milliliter of blood plasma, rather than 10 nanograms per milliliter of blood plasma.

NOTES: Installation of the new turf course at Del Mar has begun, including widening the turf course to accommodate a 14-horse field, which is one of the requirements that must be met in order to host the Breeders’ Cup…Legislation that would allow Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund money to be awarded to horses entered for a tag in some allowance/optional claiming races in the state advanced through a State House of Representatives committee March 19…Citing the paralyzing injuries suffered by a rider in a recent Quarter Horse race at Turf Paradise, the Jockeys’ Guild is calling on all tracks to put in place $1 million in catastrophic injury coverage…Keeneland and the Red Mile have separately applied to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for licenses to operate Instant Racing machines…The next TTA Board of Directors meeting will be March 31st in Arlington…The Fasig-Tipton Texas 2YO and HORA sale is slated to begin at noon on Tuesday, April 1 with the under-tack show on Sunday March 30 at 11:00 a.m…Lone Star Park opens on April 10th with the $50,000 guaranteed Premiere Stakes for Texas-bred 3yo and up going 6 ½ furlongs…ATB awards for the recently concluded Thoroughbred meet at Sam Houston Race Park should be in the mail by mid-April…Both divisions of the $75,000 guaranteed Texas Stallion Stakes for 3-year-olds will be contested on Saturday, May 10th…Mark your calendar and plan to attend the TTA Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner at Lone Star Park on Saturday, June 14th…Good luck to everyone racing this weekend.