Horses competing in the $1 million purse race will be subject to early out-of-competition blood testing for banned substances and will be required to be on Saratoga Race Course grounds by August 21. In addition, horses will 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 participating horses for three days leading up to the race, which will be published on the Commission’s Web site starting August 21.
“These measures demonstrate New York’s commitment to the health and safety of the horses and riders,” said Robert Williams, Acting Executive Director of the New York State Gaming Commission. “The security protocols we have implemented here are sensible steps that underscore that New York horse racing operates with the highest integrity.”
“These steps will help ensure that Saratoga Race Course’s most renowned race is conducted in the safest and fairest manner possible,” said Chris Kay, CEO and President of The New York Racing Association, Inc. “We thank the New York State Gaming Commission for its assistance in establishing these important protocols on behalf of our horsemen and fans.”
The Gaming Commission has mandated the following protocols and steps for the horses participating in the August 24 Travers Stakes:
- The Gaming Commission will take out-of-competition blood samples of horses competing in the Travers Stakes on August 21 and send them to the New York State’s Equine Drug Testing Program at SUNY Morrisville for immediate testing. Preliminary results of the testing are expected to be complete prior to the Travers Stakes.
- Horses participating in the Travers Stakes must be on the Saratoga Race Course grounds by noon on Wednesday, August 21. Any exceptions will be at the discretion of the Stewards.
- Horses will stay in their trainers’ current barns and stalls at Saratoga Race Course, 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 August 21 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 in.
- 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 August 24, 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 August 24, no treatment will be permitted unless it is for an emergency or as approved by the Stewards.
- On August 24, horses participating in the Travers Stakes will be required to be in the Assembly barn between 45 minutes to one hour before post time for TC02 testing. They will then be escorted with security to the paddock.
- Travers 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, August 21 at Saratoga Race Course.