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Monday, July 25, 2011

National HBPA Board Supports Elimination of All Race-Day Medication Except Lasix, Passes Resolution Regarding Penalties on ARCI Class 1 & 2 Violations

On July 24, the Board of Directors of the National HBPA (NHBPA) unanimously passed a resolution calling for the elimination of all medication administered on race-day (including adjunct bleeder medications), with the exception of the use of Lasix to prevent the occurrence of Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH), provided Lasix is only administered on race-day at least four (4) hours prior to racing by a regulatory veterinarian in the horse’s stall. This and other actions were taken as part of the National HBPA’s 2011 summer convention hosted by the Washington HBPA at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel in downtown Seattle, Washington from July 21-24. The convention included informative speaker panels entitled, “The Scientific Case: Furosemide and the Prevention of Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage” and “Visions of Racing’s Future.”

The NHBPA based its position on race-day medication on the existing scientific evidence that shows that most racehorses will bleed sometime in their careers, and Furosemide (Lasix/Salix) has been proven to reduce or prevent EIPH. Thus, its use is in the best interest of the welfare of racing horses and, by extension, the safety of the jockeys that ride those horses.

National HBPA President and Chairman Joe Santanna noted at the meeting, “The National HBPA will continue to advocate that changes to the industry’s rules and regulations regarding medication be based on scientific fact, not opinions. That’s who we are.”

Santanna also reminded attendees of three under-reported facts regarding U. S. horse racing based on Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) data:
  • 25% of all equine participants are drug tested in each race
  • 99.5% of all horses tested are in compliance with existing scientific standards
  • 98% of 6,000 licensed trainers have no Class 1 or 2 medication violations
The NHBPA Board additionally passed a resolution supporting any industry and/or regulatory effort(s) whose goal is to put in place and/or enforce the strictest penalties for violations involving pharmacologically significant concentrations of ARCI Class 1 or 2 substances which have no approved or indicated use in the horse and are not detected due to environmental contamination, nor are therapeutic, endogenous or dietary substances. This support was predicated on a number of conditions, including: insuring suspected violators are afforded their full due process rights in accordance with applicable legal requirements, testing facilities used in confirming a ARCI Class 1 or 2 violation are in compliance with ISO IEC 17025 accreditation and utilize uniform standards and procedures due to the severity of penalties capable of being imposed, and that no substance or agent should be added to the list of ARCI Class 1 or 2 of prohibited substances without scientific evidence that justifies such addition and with prior consultation with the veterinary/scientific community and industry stakeholders.

President and Chairman Santanna stated, "I believe that the public positions taken by our Board today send the message out that while we and industry regulators may still have work to do on how we regulate and penalize horsemen with regard to the use of legitimate therapeutic medications, we are very much united with regulators on passing even tougher penalties for those found guilty of using substances that we all agree don’t belong any where near a horse – the performance enhancing non-therapeutic ARCI Class 1 and 2 listed substances.”

Ohio HBPA Executive Director Dave Basler and NHBPA Deputy Counsel Peter Ecabert will be advocating the above positions on behalf of the NHBPA at the RCI’s Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee meeting on July 26 and the RCI’s Model Rules Committee Meeting on July 27. Additionally, Florida HBPA Executive Director and NHBPA Medication Committee Chairman Kent Stirling will be advocating the above positions on behalf of the NHBPA at Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) meeting on August 4.

Also at the convention, the NHBPA presented its Industry Service Award to Arkansas HBPA President and National HBPA Secretary-Treasurer and past president Bill Walmsley. Walmsley’s selfless dedication, efforts, and wise counsel to the National HBPA over the last two decades have been instrumental in uniting and strengthening to organization and raising its prominence and level of respect within the industry.

The National HBPA is the largest horsemen’s representative association with over 30,000 affiliated horsemen across North America. Big Dee’s Tack & Vet Supplies,, and Horseman Labor Solutions proudly sponsor the National HBPA.

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