ARCI Proposes To 'Dramatically Increase' Trainer and Owner Penalties For Doping

POSTED ON  |  12-04-2019

The Drug Testing Standards and Practices (DTSP) Committee of the Association of Racing Commissions International (ARCI) is considering a major change to the recommended penalties for violations of the association's drug rules to dramatically increase sanctions on those violations that can be considered “doping” or “equine endangerment”.

An ARCI workgroup has been quietly working for the past year to put together a system to increase penalties for violations categorized as “Doping or Equine Endangerment.” Penalties for such violations would be effectively doubled from the existing Class A penalties, with a first violation requiring a two to five-year suspension of the trainer and a minimum $50,000 fine which could be increased to $100,000 with aggravating circumstances. A second violation in any jurisdiction would trigger a license revocation.

The proposal would also impose a $25,000 fine on an owner if there is a second lifetime offense in the owner's stable in any jurisdiction. A third offense would suspend the owner for a minimum of thirty days to as much as a year and impose a minimum fine of $50,000 which could be increased to $100,000. Because of the seriousness of these violations a summary suspension would be required, pending any appeal.

Existing penalties for medication overages would remain the same and many would be re-categorized as a “Treatment Misapplication & Mismanagement”. If the substance or the quantity of a substance found in horse would warrant an equine endangerment charge it would be the commission's equine medical director or regulatory veterinarian who would have to recommend such to the Stewards.

The proposal also contains a minimum $500 fine for a first-time failure to keep or report required treatment records. A second offense would bring a $2,500 fine, a third offense a $5,000 fine plus a referral to the commission for possible license review. In August, 2017, the RCI Board tasked the DTSP Committee with performing a review of the current penalty guidelines and structure with an eye toward differentiating between violations that could clearly be called “doping” or “equine endangerment” from those that were overages of therapeutic medications with less of an impact on performance by virtual of being classified as a Class 4 or 5 drug.

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