For more than a decade, the Maryland Racing Commission has had an out-of-competition testing rule to detect the illicit use of gene and blood doping agents, EPO and related substances and peptide-based drugs. The Commission has only conducted such testing among horses nominated to graded stakes and non-graded stakes races. Beginning February 2, the Commission will expand out-of-competition testing to horses eligible to race in all races.


In January, 2017, a new expanded out-of-competition testing rule was adopted nationally. The new rule is in effect in all of the Mid-Atlantic states. The new rule expands the list of prohibited substances beyond gene and blood agents and peptide-based drugs to include anabolic steroids and other substances that have the potential to compromise the integrity of racing and are not necessary in the treatment of illness or injury for a horse in competition. The Out-of-Competition Testing Rule rule does NOT apply to recognized therapeutic medications and substances whose use is routine and accepted.

The list of substances that are being tested for can be found at and the MTHA’s website. In addition to listing the prohibited substances, the rule lists the horses eligible for testing, the specifics of such testing and other important information. Failure to cooperate can result in serious penalties.

For a limited number of prohibited substances that have some identified therapeutic purpose, reporting and racing restrictions may be required. Additionally, the new rule provides clear procedures for the uniform regulation and enforcement of the rule. For example, if Lasix, clenbuterol and albuterol are used therapeutically in training, trainers are required to have a prescription from their veterinarian.

Owners and trainers, as a condition of licensing, shall be deemed to have consented to access to the premises where the horse is located for purposes of an out-of-competition test. Consent is granted solely for purposes of collecting the out-of-competition samples from the horse, and no other search is permitted.

A horse is eligible to be out-of-competition tested if it is on the grounds of a racetrack or training center; it is under the care of a licensed trainer and owned by a licensed owner; it is entered or nominated to race; it has raced within the previous 12 months; it is nominated to a state breeders’ fund. In addition, a racing commission can permit the trainer or owner of a horse not located on racetrack property to present the horse for testing at a time and location agreed to by the commission.

The racing commission can collect an out-of-competition sample for cause or within the discretion of a commission, at any reasonable time and without advance notice, and where the horse from whom the sample is sought is located, whether on or off racetrack property.

The latest model rule was the product of an extensive collaborative effort by industry organizations, regulators, regulatory attorneys and the scientific community to identify the substances that need to be prohibited or regulated for horses in training and to implement comprehensive procedures to ensure that the rule is effective and legally enforceable.

Further information on out-of-competition testing, therapeutic use exemptions, and the complete ARCI model rule are available at under the Medication tab.

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