|Monday, April 14, 2014||Contact: Bob Curran Jr. (212) 521-5326|
|Phipps: When It Comes to Drug-Testing Reform Transparency a Good Place to Start|
By Ogden Mills Phipps, Chairman of The Jockey Club
One columnist recently suggested that the trainer implicated in the PETA video should stay away from the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks for “the good of the game.” I concur wholeheartedly.
Various investigations are still underway, but his presence and participation would indicate that it’s just “business as usual” in the Thoroughbred industry.
In fact, it is not — at least where The Jockey Club is concerned. We are working diligently on several fronts.
When the Olympic movement created the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as the global body responsible for uniform rules and coordination of policies at every level, it created the WADA Code, which set forth the criteria for evaluating what labs were going to be allowed to test the samples and the standard for those labs.
In fact, WADA was the model for the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium’s (RMTC) lab accreditation standards, one of the main pillars of the National Uniform Medication Program.
In 2009, The Jockey Club, through our Thoroughbred Safety Committee, pledged financial support to RMTC for new national laboratory standards for testing, the implementation of a laboratory accreditation program, and a new independent Equine Quality Assurance Program.
Five years later, just two labs have completed the accreditation process and one lab has been provisionally accredited. As is the case with the uniform medication rules, other labs are reported to be “in process” with their changes.
Clearly, the Thoroughbred industry needs a new plan.
A connection with USADA — whether through a federal mandate or private association — would provide solutions to many of our medication regulation issues. The organization would bring independence, integrity and expertise to our sport.
I propose that veterinary records of every horse entered in this year’s Triple Crown races be made immediately available. The New York State Gaming Commission does this, but only for a three-day period from the day of the race. I suggest a much longer period: 14 days.
In fact, that was the principle behind the 2013 recommendation of The Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred Safety Committee to create a centralized database of all treatments and procedures administered to horses in training. A majority of states already mandate this kind of reporting, but there is spotty compliance and, with few exceptions, little public disclosure.
As I’ve said previously, enough is enough.
All of us need to look ourselves in the mirror and make sure we are doing all we can not only for the good of the game, but for the welfare of the athletes, the integrity of competition and the survival of the sport.
The disclosure of veterinary records would be a good place to start.