Andrew Cuomo Orders Massive Overhaul Of New York Horse Racing Regulations

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Horse racing in New York state is about to change thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo's response to a report from a state commission tasked with reviewing regulations governing the state's horse racing industry.

Cuomo announced this afternoon that the New York Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety -- a commission appointed at the request of Cuomo to review horse racing regulations -- has submitted its report and a massive number of reforms will be made to keep horses safe at New York racetracks.

The task force reviewed "the circumstances involving the deaths, analyze the causes, and recommend any necessary action to prevent equine breakdowns at NYRA operated facilities. The Task Force was also charged with examining horse claiming rules, veterinary procedures and drug use in order to promote equine safety."


From the governor's office:

During its comprehensive examination, the Task Force found that NYRA's organizational veterinary structure was inherently conflicted by reporting to an entity (the Racing Office) whose function is inconsistent with deliberate and careful equine risk management practice. Other structural shortcomings with NYRA's veterinary practice include: a lack of uniform protocols and procedures among track veterinarians, a failure to standardize risk factors to assess racehorses' fitness to run, and no uniformity in veterinary care recordkeeping or proper use of existing veterinary practice management software.

As a result, Cuomo has ordered the State Racing and Wagering Board and NYRA to take the following actions:

· Establish an Office of the Equine Medical Director to oversee horse safety

· Create an independent veterinary practice structure within NYRA which will put the health of the horses first and which reporting directly to the chief executive officer of NYRA

· Establish an anonymous reporting mechanism for jockeys to report health or safety violations without fear of reprisal

· Prohibit Clenbuterol within 21 days of a race

· Prohibit Methylprednisolone (DepoMedrol®) within 15 days of the date of a race

· Prohibiting all other intra-articular corticosteroids within seven days of a race

· Prohibiting all other systemic corticosteroids within five days of a race

· Requiring trainers to maintain and records of corticosteroid administrations and notify the Stewards in writing within 48 hours of all intra-articular corticosteroid administrations

· Extending the claiming rule that voids claims in the event a claimed horse dies on the race track to make a claim voidable within 1 hour of the conclusion of a race if the horse is vanned off the track

· Amending the economic proportionality claiming rule to allow a purse-to-claim ratio no greater than 1.6-to-1

· Requiring horse claimants be notified within 48 hours of any intra-articular administration of corticosteroids to the claimed horse in the 30 days prior to the race

· Expanding out-of-competition drug testing to include corticosteroids and clenbuterol

· Improving documentation of findings of fatal injuries, including the development of standard protocols for handling of horses sustaining fatal injuries

· Requiring testing laboratory accreditation

· Formalizing necropsy procedures


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