WHRC solicits comments on possible legislation
The WHRC is asking stakeholders and interested parties to provide comments on possible agency request legislation for 2019. The WHRC is investigating the possibility of joining a multi-jurisdictional compact that would set rules that pertain to equine medication. The compact would be responsible to set allowable threshold levels for therapeutic medications along with designation prohibited practices.
You can access the entire request for comment letter and a draft of the proposed legislation by clicking here. Please provide comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Former Commissioner Paul George passes away
Longtime Washington horse racing industry member and WHRC commissioner, Paul Peter George, 88, passed away August 6, 2018 at Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital. Paul was appointed to the Washington Horse Racing Commission in January 2006 and served as chair from 2009 through 2011 and retired from the commission in late 2015.
Paul was born on March 28, 1930 in Glendive Montana to Peter George his Greek immigrant father, and Helen (Seeberger). The family moved to Tacoma in 1941 where he attended Visitation Catholic School and graduated from Bellarmine High School. Paul was an outstanding athlete and in 1947, as quarterback, Paul led the Bellarmine football team to their first Tacoma City League Football championship. Attending St. Martin's College on a football scholarship, Paul graduated with a degree in journalism and English in the spring of 1952 and was drafted that summer into the army. He proudly completed two years of Korean War theatre military service, including 14 months in Okinawa. In 1956, Paul married Janet Marie Poirier the love of his life and they raised three children; Mark, Paulette and Kathleen.
Paul has been involved in the racing industry since 1971 where he was named General Manager of the Yakima Valley Turf Club, a position he held until 1984. At that time he acted as the Marketing Director for Portland Meadows for the 1984/1985 racing seasons. In 1985 he moved to Billings, Montana where he was the Director of Communications for United Tote. He served in that capacity until 1996 when he relocated back to Yakima and was the Simulcast Director at Yakima Meadows until its closure. In addition to his career in horse racing, Paul also served as the Mayor of Yakima in 2004 and 2005.
Paul is preceded in death by his wife Janet, his parents Peter and Helen, siblings William George, James George and Katherine Dupille. He is survived by son Mark and wife Jan George of Yakima, daughters Paulette (George) Marley of Lynnwood and Kathleen (Rick) Speedy of Junction City, OR, grandsons Stefan George and Brandon George of Seattle and Brett Speedy of Junction City, OR.
WHRC adopts policy to assist trainers in medication administration
At the April 13, 2018 meeting the WHRC adopted a policy to address when a lab report that is received where the concentration is reported to be over newly adopted thresholds but under the previous threshold. If a report is received that the concentration is over the prior threshold, it would still be considered a violation and the appropriate penalty would be assessed. The adoption of the policy is intended to mitigate penalties to trainers in an effort to allow them to adjust their treatment programs to comply with the amended threshold levels. Click here to review the policy or the policy can be found on our Rules of Racing page.
WHRC adopts ARCI recommended thresholds and other rule changes
At the March 9, 2018 meeting the WHRC adopted the threshold levels for therapeutic substances as recommended by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI). The meeting was attended by numerous stakeholders who testified against the recommended thresholds. The commission, which began this process more than six years previously, voted unanimously to adopt the thresholds, and made statements that they were swayed by what they felt was in the best interest of the horse and for the safety of all participants. Additionally, the commissioners indicated that they felt that striving for uniform medication rules from jurisdiction to jurisdiction would be a benefit to the industry. The substances involved in WAC 260-70-630 and their new threshold levels are:
These thresholds, along with the complete list of approved therapeutics can be found in WAC 260-70-630. In WAC 260-70-640, Permitted Medications, the following thresholds that were approved are:
Other changes and additions approved at the meeting were the adoption of a new section to cover the ability of the commission to conduct Out of Competition Testing, WAC 260-70-575, and a new section was adopted to address hair testing process and procedures in Quarter Horse and Mixed Breed Races, WAC 260-70-665. All new sections and amendments will be in effect starting on April 10, 2018.
In another adoption hearing, the commission expanded the circumstances in which a claim would be declared void in WAC 260-60-460 Cancellation of claims. The language would require a claim to be voided if at any time prior to the official transfer of a horse, a catastrophic injury occurs which requires the horse to be euthanized. Prior language only addressed an injury that occurs during the running of the race.
In order to allow the horsemen and practicing veterinarian’s time to adjust to the new thresholds, the WHRC intends on adopting a policy to address when a lab report that is received where the concentration is reported to be over the new threshold but under the previous threshold. If a report is received that the concentration is over the prior threshold, it would still be considered a violation and the appropriate penalty would be assessed.
All the rules adopted or amended by the WHRC can be seen on the Rules of Racing page by clicking here.
Rulemaking Notification List
Any person who wishes to receive notification about WHRC rulemaking activities can be added to the stakeholder list. Requests to be added to the stakeholder list may be made by email at email@example.com, by telephone at 360-459-6462, by fax at 360-459-6461, or by mail at 6326 Martin Way, Suite 209, Olympia, WA 98516-5578.
WHRC Publishes Withdrawal Time Recommendations for 2018
The WHRC has published updated drug withdrawal time recommendations for therapeutic medications with listed thresholds for 2018. The information on drug withdrawal times does not constitute and is not a warranty, guarantee, assurance, undertaking or anything similar that the results of the use of any of the drugs in the manner set out will be as stated or will not result in a positive pre or post-race violation. The Washington Horse Racing Commission is not responsible for results differing in any way from the results stated.
Use of the recommendations does not relieve or lessen any trainer’s responsibility for assuring that, during a horse race, a horse is free from any drug listed or below the appropriate threshold and for complying with provisions of the Washington Horse Racing Commission Rules of Racing and Statutes. Owners, trainers or any other person in charge or having care of a race horse are strongly advised to consult their own veterinarian for advice and guidance in the use of all drugs.
The updated threshold list can be seen by clicking here or on the WHRC Forms & Reports page.
The updated withdrawal time recommendations can be seen by clicking here or on the WHRC Forms & Reports page.
Emerald Downs Dates UPDATED For 2018
At the January 12, 2018 meeting of the Washington Horse Racing Commission, Emerald Downs LLC requested a change to the previously approved race dates for the 2018 live racing season. In order to optimize purses and ensure quality field sizes, the request to reduce the live meet from 70 days to 67 days was approved.
Emerald Downs Racetrack and Casino will have a 67 day live racing season for 2018, with opening day on Sunday, April 22 and continuing through Sunday, September 23. The race dates were originally approved on Thursday, November 9th by the Washington Horse Racing Commission and changed at the January 12, 2018 meeting.
"It’s all systems go for 2018 at Emerald Downs," track president Phil Ziegler said. "We are planning many exciting promotions, but it all begins and ends with our live racing product."
Opening on Sunday is a first for Emerald Downs, and also the lone day of racing opening week. The track then offers Saturday/Sunday racing April 28-29 and May 5-6, with Friday racing beginning May 11 and continuing throughout the season.
Post times are similar to previous years: 2 pm Sundays and 6:30 pm Fridays. Saturdays, however, are slightly different in 2018. The first seven Saturdays, April 28 thru June 9, feature a 2 pm post, and the final 15 Saturdays, June 16 thru September 22, will have a 5 pm post time.
The annual Fireworks Spectacular on Tuesday, July 3, begins at 5 pm with live racing followed by the fireworks display. The 83rd Longacres Mile (G3) will be held Sunday, August 12, and the complete 2018 stakes schedule will be released in February.
WHRC 2017-2019 Biennial Budget Request
The WHRC has submitted its request for the 2017-2019 biennial budget to the Washington State Legislature. To review the entire budget click here.