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RCI Drug Report Says "US Doping Not Out Of Control"
US Association Of Racing Commissioners International president Ed Martin released a comprehensive report titled “Drugs in Racing 2010 — The Facts” overnight & declared: “With very few exceptions, almost all race horses tested for drugs are found to be clean, a fact that undermines the credibility of those who peddle the perception that racing has an out of control drug problem.” According to the report, in 2010 US racing regulators sent 324,215 biological samples “to a network of professional testing labs that utilised standards more stringent than those used for the Olympics” noted bloodhorse.com “More than 99.5% of those samples were found to be clean.” Martin noted: “Despite the fact that racing regulators test for more substances with greater sensitivity than any other sport, less than half of 1% of all tests detected a substance not allowed to be in the horse on race day.” The RCI report also shows instances of “horse doping” are rare, representing 0.015% of all samples tested. The 10-year trend for findings “that might be characterised as doping has remained flat, while there has been a decline during the past decade in the number of therapeutic overages that have resulted in regulatory action. Total medication actions in 2010 were 20% less than 2001.” Martin summed up: “Racing, like other sports, has a drug challenge. We cannot lessen our efforts because there are a relative few who will attempt to circumvent the rules for their own purposes. Our commissions, labs & research centres need adequate resources if we are to remain current & prepared as new substances emerge & find their way to the backstretch.” Importantly, Martin “contends that the reality of the drug testing program is often misunderstood & mischaracterised. The RCI report notes equine care has evolved to be more medication-reliant in the same way human care has. Racing commission data shows that in those rare instances when a violation of a medication rule does occur, most were associated with a legal substance administered in the normal course of equine care by a licensed veterinarian” & cannot be characterised as “horse doping” or as indicative of a “drugging”.