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Should the Ohio State Racing Commission Test Out-of-Competition Horses?

Published: Aug 08, 2018 by John Izzo

Robert K. Schmitz, Chairman of the Ohio State Racing Commission, mentioned out-of-competition testing at the monthly meeting on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. Chairman Schmitz seeks public comments about this topic at the Commission Meeting in August, which is currently set for August 29, 2018.

Chairman Schmitz did not provide any specifics about what he wanted to discuss. One would guess Ohio will run into the same problems California has had over the past several months.

Ohio has discussed out-of-competition testing for over ten years. Questions the Ohio State Racing Commission have to address include:

  • What substances will be tested for?
  • Will urine be collected or will blood be drawn?
  • Where will the out-of-competition testing be conducted?
  • Who is responsible to provide the horses at the designated location?
  • Who is liable if an injury occurs to a horse while being transported to a location for out-of-competition testing?
  • Who will pay for a horse to be transported to a location for out-of-competition testing?

The Commission will also have to address what penalties, if any, a horseman incurs if certain substance are found in a horse on a non-race day. Current rules state that a penalty is incurred only if the foreign substance or substance above the regulatory threshold are found in the horse on race day. The exception to this is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. NSAID’s are to be discontinued at least forty-eight hours before post time for the race in which the horse is entered. Will NSAID’s be the only drugs the Commission tests for?

The Commission may have to ban certain drugs from any use in a race horse, or finally address withdrawal times of therapeutic medications. If the Commission chooses to ban certain drugs, it raises other questions:

  • How do these banned substances affect racing performance if administered in an out-of-competition setting?
  • Is the Racing Commission improperly restricting the practice of veterinary medicine?

Based upon his comments, Chairman Schmitz appears to believe that out-of-competition testing will help racing in Ohio. Only time will tell.

If you are concerned about the Commission’s proposed addition of out-of-competition testing, or have any questions about horse racing in the state of Ohio, you should consider contacting an attorney at Graff & McGovern. John Izzo of Graff & McGovern can be reached at 614-228-5800, extension 5.