Letter to the Editor: Hold On, The Ride is About to Begin

There's good news and bad news coming. The good news is that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act solves the persistent problem of inadequate funding to police the sport. The bad news is that decisions coming soon by the HISA Board may jeopardize millions of dollars of existing public support now allocated for this function. Collectively the U.S. states invest over $100 million to regulate racing and wagering. That money comes in large part from taxes generated by the industry and fans. Commissions fight every year to ensure that adequate...

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West Virginia Advances Model Rules; 2022 Implementation Hinges On Legislature

After a failed attempt last year to adopt a group of drug-related model rules that every other racing jurisdiction in the mid-Atlantic region has already implemented, the West Virginia Racing Commission (WVRC) on Monday voted 2-0 to advance to the state legislature new regulations concerning medication abuse and stepped-up penalty scales. The July 12 passage of new rules concerning clenbuterol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, intra-articular injections and the adoption of the most current Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances list did not come without drama and several detours. In fact, much...

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Maryland THA Issues Warning on Adjunct Bleeder Medication

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association issued the following statement to its members Tuesday: "Effective immediately, horsemen are urged to discontinue the use of any and all adjunct bleeder medications for horses in training, including in particular, aminocaproic acid--commonly called Amicar. Amicar and several other adjunct bleeder medications were placed on the Prohibited List in 2013 under the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances and Recommended Penalties Model Code and the National Uniform Medication Program. Aminocaproic acid, for example is a Class 4 substance and penalty...

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ARCI Working On 'Smooth Transition' to HISA

Association of Racing Commissioners International Chair Robert Lopez said today that the U.S. members of ARCI are focused on a smooth and expeditious implementation of the newly enacted Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act. "We view this as an opportunity to achieve improvements we support and believe necessary," Lopez said. "Uniform rules, uniform testing, expanded jurisdiction over horses, and the creation of a multi-jurisdictional investigative entity are all tremendous improvements that will result from this law," added Ed Martin, ARCI's President. ARCI had, in the past, advocated a different path to...

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ARCI's Martin Issues Statement on Baffert

The Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) is an umbrella organization of the official governing rule-making bodies for professional horse racing and for decades, has helped establish international standards for racing regulation, medication policy and drug testing labs, among other responsibilities. The organization's president Ed Martin issued a statement on the positive betamethasone test returned on GI Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit (Protonico) and the comments made by his trainer Bob Baffert. The statement, in its entirety, reads as follows: As I watched Bob Baffert denying any knowledge of how...

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ARCI, Beshear, KHRC Release Statements on John Ward's Passing

The Association of Racing Commissioners International, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission all released statements Monday reflecting on the passing of GI Kentucky Derby-winning trainer John Ward. "On behalf of the ARCI and John's many friends in the regulatory network, permit me to express our immense sadness and condolences to Donna and John's family upon learning the news of John's passing," said ARCI President Ed Martin. "John Ward was a gentle giant in horse racing and was committed to our horses, everyone who cares for them,...

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Lopez Names New Chair of ARCI

Robert Lopez, the Chairman of the Washington State Horse Racing Commission, was elected the new Chair of the Association of Racing Commissioners International at Monday's online annual Board of Directors election. Lopez replaces Tom Sage of Nebraska whose term expired. A graduate of the FBI's National Academy, Lopez is a longtime law enforcement professional who was a member of the Washington State Patrol before retiring as Assistant Chief in 2001. In 2002, Lopez joined the staff of the racing commission and later became its executive secretary. In 2015, he was...

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ARCI to Hold Meeting on Medication Policies

The Association of Racing Commissioners International Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee will conduct its next meeting Monday, Apr. 12 to assess the regulation of certain medications included on the RCI Controlled Therapeutic Schedule (CTS). The meeting agenda, materials and registration link can be found on the Meetings page of the ARCI website The meeting may also be viewed later on the Horse Racing Integrity ARCI YouTube Channel.

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HeadCheck Health Aims For Blanket Jockey Health Program

One day in the not-too-distant past, a jockey who had taken a tumble at a Mid-Atlantic racetrack was required to get a doctor's note giving him the medical all-clear before he could ride at the same facility. And so, that's what he did. But rather than head immediately to a physician in that same state, the jockey hopped the border to ride at Laurel Park. After taking his mounts at the Maryland track, the rider swung by the office of Kelly Ryan, co-medical director for the Maryland Horsemen's Health Program....

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Joe Sharp Handed 30-Day Suspension, Will Appeal

Trainer Joe Sharp has been hit with a 30-day suspension and fined $2,500 by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) after five horses he trained tested positive for the medication levamisole during a 16-day period at Churchill Downs in November, 2019. Sharp has said that the levamisole was found in an over-the-counter dewormer he purchased and used to treat his horses. He said he consulted with veterinarians before using the product and was told that it complied with pertinent racing and medication regulations. In addition to the Kentucky positives, eight...

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ARCI Strengthens Rule Restrictions On Crop Use

Jockeys will be prohibited from using the riding crop more than two consecutive times before being required to wait three full strides in order to give the horse a chance to respond under an expanded Model crop Rule adopted by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) last week. The modified rule tightens restrictions already in place but clearly says that any use of the crop to "urge" the horse must be limited. The new RCI Model Rule continues to rely upon the judgement of the Stewards as to when...

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UofL Introduces ARCI Racing Investigator Program

The University of Louisville (UofL) Equine Industry program launched the first-ever Racing Investigator Certificate Program Monday. The two-day program, an initiative of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI), was conducted online, but the ARCI is working with UofL and the University of Arizona's Racetrack Industry Program to hold future programs in person. "The job of a racing investigator is a specialty involving knowledge not only of police procedures concerning interrogation and evidence gathering, but also of horse racing, the backstretch, and the horses themselves," said ARCI Chair Tom Sage....

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