Anti-Doping Chief Says Follow Olympic Example

USADA Chief Tygart: Racing Could Follow Example
of Olympic Movement to Preserve Integrity of Competition

LEXINGTON, (Jockey Club) – Programs centered on the uniformity of rules, drug testing and drug testing research as well as intensive investigative and educational initiatives have enabled the Olympic movement to better protect the rights of athletes and preserve the integrity of competition and could be an example for Thoroughbred racing to follow, according to Travis T. Tygart, the chief of executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Tygart made those remarks to approximately 350 attendees and a webcast audience as the keynote speaker at The Jockey Club’s 60th Annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing on Sunday morning at the Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

“In 1999, we put a stake in the ground and said clean athletes are going to have a chance to win,” Tygart said. “A win-at-all-costs culture has taken over the system, and if you stay stagnant, the cheaters will get ahead. Testing provides the necessary deterrent… . Our experience since 1999 can be an example for you [horse racing] in order to bring the magic back to the sport.”

Medication and performance-enhancing drugs were major themes of the conference. Tygart’s presentation followed one focused on Clean and Safe Horseracing: A Report of the Thoroughbred Safety Committee, which was delivered jointly by Stuart S. Janney III, the vice chairman of The Jockey Club and chairman of the Thoroughbred Safety Committee, and Matt Iuliano, the executive vice president and executive director of The Jockey Club.

Janney reiterated the importance of adopting the Reformed Racing Medication Rules, a set of proposed rules developed by The Jockey Club that feature a new categorization of medications, more clearly defined regulatory limits and dramatically remodeled penalties. The organization is encouraging all Thoroughbred racing jurisdictions to implement them in order to improve the integrity of the sport and enhance the safety of its athletes.

“We have to agree on a goal of ensuring that our sport is as safe as possible and that our athletes are properly cared for,” Janney said. “We must also reassure public observers and our fans that we compare favorably to other sports and the international racing community.”

Janney also announced that a third edition of the Reformed Racing Medication Rules has been published (jockeyclub.com/pdfs/reformed_rules.pdf) and that the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and the American Quarter Horse Association have both endorsed the document.

“The support from these two important organizations exemplifies the growing momentum for medication reform in this country, and we will be encouraging others to follow their example,” Janney said.

The updated version of the Reformed Racing Medication Rules features two changes:

  • Clenbuterol shall not be administered less than 21 days before the scheduled post time for which a horse is entered to compete. Previously, the Reformed Racing Medication Rules recommended 10 days.
  • The second change is the addition of Exhibit 3, which provides guidance and best practices to regulators in the administration of their furosemide programs.

The addition of Exhibit 3 also recognized that furosemide is currently an authorized race-day medication.

The Jockey Club has long advocated that horses race only when free from the influence of medication.

Janney also announced the Thoroughbred Safety Committee’s 14th and 15th recommendations.

In an effort to improve safety and injury mitigation planning, the committee has called for all racing regulatory authorities and the Association of Racing Commissioners International develop and implement a rule calling for a stewards’ investigation and report of the circumstances associated with racing fatalities.

In an effort to further ensure the safety of horse and rider, the committee has also called for all racing regulatory authorities and Association of Racing Commissioners International to develop and implement a rule to allow a claim to be voided on horses that officially finish the race yet fail to return to the designated unsaddling area.

A copy of the entire text of the new recommendations, along with the first 13 recommendations issued by the Thoroughbred Safety Committee, is available at jockeyclub.com/tsc.asp.

Jason G. Wilson, vice president of business development for The Jockey Club, and Michael Lamb of the media and entertainment division of McKinsey & Company provided an update on the initiatives undertaken by The Jockey Club following the comprehensive economic study of the Thoroughbred industry by McKinsey one year ago.

Gagliano pointed out that the marketing programs will be successful only if Thoroughbred racing industry reforms its medication rules.

“We can provide the best service possible to our respective customers,” he said. “We can reach out to new fans. We can attract new owners. We can procure sponsorship and television programming. But I assure you those marketing efforts will be seriously and dangerously compromised if we do not reform our medication policies and improve our drug-testing standards and our penalty system.”

The Reformed Racing Medication Rules integrate rules drawn from numerous sources, including individual racing jurisdictions, the Association of Racing Commissioners International, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) and the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.

“The adoption of the reformed rules would be a win/win situation for this industry,” said Ogden Mills Phipps, chairman of The Jockey Club. “It would undoubtedly benefit the honest and rule-abiding horsemen. And, just as importantly, it would benefit our valued customer, the racing fan, who is wagering hard-earned money on what he believes to be a fair and clean competition.”

A replay of the Round Table Conference webcast is available at jockeyclub.com. An official transcript of the proceedings will be available on the website by Tuesday.

More information about the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and the American Quarter Horse Association is available on their respective websites: toba.org and aqha.com. The USADA website is usantidoping.org.

The Jockey Club Round Table Conference was first held on July 1, 1953, in The Jockey Club office in New York City. The following year, it was moved to Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where it has been held every August since.

The Jockey Club, founded in 1894 and dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing, is the breed registry for North American Thoroughbreds. In fulfillment of its mission, The Jockey Club provides support and leadership on a wide range of important industry initiatives and it serves the information and technology needs of owners, breeders, media, fans and farms, among others.