Final New York Budget Deal Shifts Full Drug Testing Costs To Horsemen, Tracks

by | 04.10.2017 | 6:00pm

Since 1986, the state of New York has helped to pay a portion of the $4 million annual cost of drug testing for horse racing in the state, run at a state university in Morrisville. According to, the latest version of the state's budget finalized on April 9 will transfer the entirety of those costs to the horsemen and the racetracks.

Both Thoroughbred and harness horsemen, as well as the racetracks, currently pay a portion of the drug testing cost, which is based on handle. Under the new budget deal, the secondary portion of that cost will now be paid on a per-start basis by the horsemen and the racetracks. Rick Violette, president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, estimates that the cost to the Thoroughbred side will be an additional $425,000 annually. The total amount transferred to the horse racing industry is somewhere around $1.7 million, per an anonymous official.

“The state assumed those costs as an accommodation to the tracks,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget in January. “The tracks now benefit from video lottery gaming subsidies, which the tracks and the horsepersons can use to resume their historical responsibility for drug testing costs.”


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