USTA proposed drug changes to be vetted at upcoming ARCI meeting

Saratoga Springs, NY — Proposals to modify the regulatory policy concerning clenbuterol and betamethasone use in Standardbred racing will be one of the major topics considered at the upcoming meeting of the Association of Racing Commissioners International on April 3-5 in Arcadia, Calif.

The proposed changes were submitted late last year to Standardbred regulatory commissions directly from the Harness Racing Medication Collaborative, a subcommittee of the United States Trotting Association, chaired by Joe Faraldo of New York. Several commissions have deferred action on the proposed change pending a recommendation from the ARCI, the umbrella group of the racing regulatory authorities throughout North America and parts of the Caribbean.

The ARCI racing regulatory standards are embodied in its Model Rules of Racing, which form the foundation for the regulation of horse and greyhound racing in North America and, in some cases, beyond.

Several ARCI committees will consider the proposal, which would liberalize the current policy for these two drugs if adopted. The current policy was adopted by the ARCI upon recommendations that had come from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium several years ago.

The proposals to change the point at which a violation occurs for each of these drugs if found in a Standardbred horse post race will be reviewed by the RCI Scientific Advisory Group, the RCI Standardbred Committee, the Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee, the Model Rules Committee, and ultimately the entire membership at the April meeting.

Representatives from the USTA as well as Mr. Faraldo have been invited to attend and have been included on the various agendas to afford them the opportunity to make the case for the proposed policy changes, which would represent breed specific rules for Standardbred races.

In the past the ARCI has adopted more stringent breed specific policies for quarter horse races where clenbuterol and albuterol are both considered prohibited at any level. The USTA is requesting a more lenient approach for clenbuterol and betamethasone than what currently exists in the Model Rules.

“The regulators are very interested in hearing what they have to say, including why this policy change is necessary and in the best interest of the horse as well as ensuring the integrity of the race,” said RCI President Ed Martin.

“I think it important to note that Standardbred races in Indiana, New Jersey, California, Kentucky, Minnesota, Maryland, and Florida occur consistent with the current Model Rules while other jurisdictions have made exceptions, which is their right. In those jurisdictions that have adopted the Model Rules or are required by statute or rule to implement the Model Rules, compliance has not posed a problem to those who race. That being said, we continually strive to consider any and all information in assessing the appropriateness and applicability of the standards we embody in the Model Rules and are never adverse to modifying a standard if the facts warrant it.”

Information concerning the proposals are posted online at

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