Horsemen Discussion Drug Violation Penalty Enforcement with Texas Racing Commission

(Austin, Texas - Wednesday, February 6, 2013) - At the request of THP Board Member Lane Hutchins, a discussion airing the concerns of Texas horsemen regarding perceived laxity and delay of drug violation penalty enforcement was held at the Texas Racing Commission (TxRC) headquarters on February 5, 2013. Present were TxRC Executive Director Chuck Trout, Chief Steward Ricky Walker, Chief Veterinarian Dr. Ken Quirk, Public Information Officer Jean Cook, Director of Investigations Jim Blodgett, and Counsel Mark Fenner, as well as THP Board Members Lane Hutchins and R.D. Weilburg MD, active THP member Shreta Martinez, and Texas Thoroughbred Association (TTA) Executive Director Mary Ruyle.

During the meeting, the TxRC staff expressed extreme interest in horsemen's concerns and perspectives, and the staff has already instituted measures to speed due process. The TxRC has hired a new litigator to prosecute cases that are outstanding and to deal in timely fashion with any new restraining orders which may ensue.

There will be no stays issued for penalties in the future, unless there are, "overwhelming mitigating circumstances which might lead to a maximum stay of seven days."

The Commission staff wants to actively work with horsemen to discover and develop tests for new performance-enhancing drugs, and is working with State Legislators and the DEA to facilitate measures of defining and controlling the use of forbidden substances. Frequent unannounced sweeps of the racetrack stable areas, veterinarian practice standards, and control of access to horses on race day were other subjects discussed.

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