The New York State Gaming Commission and The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced enhanced security measures for horses competing in the June 8 Belmont Stakes.
Horses competing in the $1 million purse race will be subject to out-of-competition blood testing for banned substances, be required to be on Belmont Park's grounds by June 5 and be subject to 24 hour monitoring at their trainers' own barns and stalls on the grounds. The Gaming Commission is also requiring the submission of veterinary records for three days leading up to the race, which will be published on the Commission's Web site starting June 5.
“With these measures, the public will once again be reassured that New York's horse racing is run with the utmost integrity and consciousness of safety for the horse and the rider,” said Robert Williams, Acting Executive Director of the New York State Gaming Commission. “These actions will enhance an already-even playing field, give bettors peace-of-mind and underscore New York's commitment to the best horse racing in the country.”
“I applaud the Gaming Commission's efforts to ensure the integrity of New York's biggest horse race,” said David J. Skorton, Chairman of the New York Racing Association Reorganization Board. “We are dedicated to providing a safe environment for all our horses, and these additional measures are sensible and effective steps that will lead to a better race for all.”
“These steps will ensure that Belmont Park's signature race is conducted in the fairest, most transparent manner possible, while allowing horsemen to keep their Belmont Stakes horses within their customary surroundings,” said Glen Kozak, Vice President of Facilities and Racing Surfaces at NYRA and a member of the NYRA interim management team. “We thank the New York State Gaming Commission for its assistance in establishing these important protocols.”
The Gaming Commission has mandated the following protocols and steps for the horses participating in the June 8 Belmont Stakes:
· The Commission will take out-of-competition blood samples of horses competing in the Belmont Stakes on June 5 and send them to the New York State's Equine Drug Testing Program at Morrisville State College for immediate testing.
· Horses participating in the Belmont Stakes must be on the Belmont Park grounds by noon on Wednesday, June 5. Any exceptions will be at the discretion of the Stewards.
· Horses will stay in their trainers' current barns and stalls at Belmont, which will be monitored at all times by additional security personnel.
· Security personnel will monitor all treatments performed by veterinarians and examine all paraphernalia. All containers for medications administered will be retained by the Commission for possible testing.
· A full daily veterinarian's record of all medications and treatments given to horses from noon June 5 until the race is run will be provided to the Commission. Any changes to treatment must be disclosed to the Commission. If medications and treatment records are not provided to the Commission in a timely manner and prior to treatment, veterinarians will not be permitted to treat the horse until the issue is resolved. The Commission will post these records on its Web site each day leading up to the race.
· Entry-exit logs will be maintained by additional security from NYRA and the Commission. All persons – including veterinarians, trainers, assistant trainers, farriers, owners or other connections – on entering the stall, or engaging in contact with the horse or performing any service for the horse must have a valid Commission license on their person. Such persons will be logged in by security personnel with the reason for their visit. Routine stall and horse maintenance by identified grooms and staff will be monitored but will be exempt from logging.
· All equipment, feed, hay bales, etc. are subject to administrative searches and checks.
· As is current policy, Lasix administration will take place in the horses' own stalls by a NYRA veterinarian. Syringes will be preserved by the Commission for possible testing.
· On June 7, no veterinarians will treat horses without first making an appointment with Commission investigators.
· The Commission, in conjunction with NYRA, will appoint a single 24-hour point person each day for trainers and connections to contact in case of an emergency.
· On June 8, no treatment will be permitted (beyond Lasix for specifically designated horses) unless it is for an emergency or as approved by the Stewards.
· On June 8, horses participating in the Belmont Stakes will be required to be in the Assembly barn between 45 minutes to 1 hour before post time for TC02 testing. They will then be escorted with security to the paddock.
· Belmont Stakes participants will receive priority for paddock schooling with security present.
The Commission and NYRA will provide educational materials on the protocols to horsepersons, connections, veterinarians, security and all appropriate parties prior to and on Wednesday, June 5 at Belmont Park.
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