|Message from the CEO|
Winter 2013 Issue
Dear Horsewomen and Horsemen of the National HBPA:
In this issue of The Horsemen’s Journal starting on page 32, you will find the results of the trainer Continuing Education (CE) survey. I want to thank all of you who took the time to provide your answers to the survey, either online or by mailing us your completed survey. Although we only had approximately 50 people complete the CE survey, the results are enlightening. The current model rule (ARCI -008-020, A-4) requires four hours of CE per year. Very few states have adopted this model rule. With regard to CE topics, the survey question on horse care topics (bleeding/EIPH, lameness, nutrition and feeding and tying-up) covered the subjects people wanted to learn about.
The results reinforce the fact that concern for the welfare of our horses is a high priority. Track surfaces were another topic many people wanted to learn more about. For those of you who attended the NHBPA Summer Convention, we had an excellent presentation on this topic by Javier Barajas (Canterbury Park), Irwin Driedger (Woodbine), Tommy McLaughlin (Tampa Bay Downs) and Dr. Mick Peterson (University of Maine, Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory). Another question, which allowed people to select all the choices that applied, asked about how people wanted to receive CE. Nearly 80 percent of the respondents wanted to receive their CE via computer/online, while nearly 43 percent wanted to have their CE via a live instructor in a classroom setting.
Perhaps the most interesting results related to the final question, which asked, “Should there be a per start minimum for the requirement of Continuing Education in a particular state? (For example, you must start six horses before you are required to take CE).” The concept behind the minimum starts requirement was to address those trainers who ship into a state just to run in one or two races a year. The vast majority of the responses (more than 89 percent) said there should not be a minimum number of starts requirement for CE; if you are training horses, you need to have CE.
Medication issues continue to occupy our industry’s attention. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association recently sent a letter to all of the racing commissions in the United States urging the commissions to: (1) adopt the model rule with the list of 24 therapeutic medications; (2) adopt the Multiple Medication Violations (MMV) Penalty System model rule for medication; (3) adopt the model rule addressing restrictions on the use and administration of bleeder medications; and (4) support the mandatory accreditation of drug testing laboratories to ISO 17025 and Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) standards.
Conceptually, the NHBPA supports all of these programs. Our members are dedicated to the welfare of their horses and to maintaining the integrity of Thoroughbred racing. However, with regard to these four programs, the “devil is in the details” so to speak. The NHBPA is conducting a survey of racetrack veterinarians to determine and quantify what additional medications should be added to the list of 24 for the health and welfare of the horse. For the racetrack vets who are reading this column, if you have not completed the NHBPA’s medication survey yet, please contact me at email@example.com and I will email the survey to you. The survey will only take you a couple of minutes to complete and you can email it back to me. The list of 24 therapeutic medications was adopted by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) as a “living document” allowing for the addition of medications. We intend to request additions to the list of 24 as soon as our survey is completed. We continue to maintain our position that medication regulations should be based on publically available, peer-reviewed scientific research. Only using such research can racing commissions properly conclude what medications are appropriate for the horse and the industry. The NHBPA also intends to continue to work with the RCI and other industry organizations to have endogenous, dietary and environmental substances recognized and codified in the model rules.
With regard to the MMV system, as noted in my last column, the RCI did accept several of the changes Dave Basler and the NHBPA’s Model Rules Committee requested. Several of the changes we wanted, such as adjustments to the Class B, C and D point values and adjustments to the expungement times for Class C and D violations, were not incorporated into the MMV model rule. We will continue to advocate for these changes and several other changes in order to have a more balanced rule that recognizes that, after due process, multiple violation offenders should be appropriately sanctioned.
The RCI’s model rule regarding furosemide (Lasix/Salix) was recently adopted. In general, the NHBPA (although not all of our affiliates) concurs with this model rule. There have been some challenges in terms of implementing this model rule in certain locations, but for the most part the regulatory veterinarians have overcome these challenges and the issue of the regulation of furosemide has moved to the back burner (at least for now).
The NHBPA supports the concept of national testing lab accreditation using the ISO 17025 standards as a base, augmented by the additional RMTC standards. One or two RMTC standards, in our opinion, need some clarification, but in general national standard accreditation is good for the integrity of racing. To the extent the adoption of the national standards is going to result in an increase in the testing cost per sample, the payment of these additional costs must be explored, defined and agreed to prior to adoption of the national testing standards.
On a totally different subject, by the time you get this issue of The Horsemen’s Journal, the 2013 Claiming Crown will have taken place at Gulfstream Park. More than 270 trainers submitted their nominations. This year the Claiming Crown added an additional race, and thanks to the Florida HBPA, the total purse money was raised to $1 million. We are hoping to have full 14-horse fields for each race, which should make the event very attractive from a wagering point of view as well as from a spectator point of view. Look for a recap of the Claiming Crown in the next issue of the magazine.
As always, if any of you are in Lexington, please stop by the NHBPA’s office. We welcome your comments, feedback and visits.
May the Racing Gods smile on you, and may you have many visits to the winner’s circle.
Chief Executive Officer