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Bill May Weaken Anti-Doping Efforts

Published: May 2, 2013 8:59 am ET

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Reports of federal legislation to be introduced next week in the United Stated have raised concerns that the bill being considered would weaken the current anti-doping program in horse racing.

“While we have the utmost respect for what the US Anti-Doping Agency does in human sport, we are concerned that the program they deploy permits the use of prohibited substances in competition upon receipt of a therapeutic use exemption, something we do not allow in horse racing,” Racing Commissioners International (RCI) President Ed Martin said.

“If those standards were applied to horse racing, they would considerably weaken the current program as well as undermine some of the reforms we are currently working to implement,” he said.

Martin noted that the drug testing program in racing is the most aggressive in professional sport and is totally independent, conducted by official government agencies subject to audit, legislative review, and public transparency.

The RCI President also noted that there is an enormous gap in the magnitude of the USADA program when compared to the existing program in racing.

According to the 2011 USADA annual report, 8,204 drug tests were conducted. That number is slightly larger than the number of racing related tests conducted in Indiana alone.

Nationally, US racing commissions conducted over 385,000 drug tests on equine and greyhound athletes in 2011.

“We appreciate the desire of those in Congress who wish to help us in our anti-doping efforts, but we think a better way might be to revisit the $9 million in federal aid received by the USADA each year to require that some be set aside to fund equine drug testing research projects,” Martin said. “That’s where we believe they can be a tremendous help.”


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