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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

New York Steps Up Security Rules


Standing security protocols for horses racing in grade 1 races with purses of $1 million or more have been established in New York. The new protocols will begin with the April 4 Wood Memorial.

Officials with the New York State Gaming Commission and The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) said the new measures instill consistency and clarity to ensure compliance among horsepersons and veterinarians that travel to New York from across the world to compete.


"The new protocols are the most efficient and effective means by which to ensure the utmost integrity for New York's premiere racing events," said Commission Executive Director Robert Williams. "They bring unparalleled transparency to the sport and instill confidence of a level playing field for the horse, the rider, the connections and the public."

"For more than two and a half years, the New York Racing Association has implemented extensive reforms which are further preserving and enhancing the integrity of our racing operations," said New York Racing Association Chief Executive Officer and President Christopher Kay. "The new protocols developed with the New York State Gaming Commission are the next steps in this important - and continuing transformation."

"The New York State Gaming Commission and the New York Racing Association, Inc. continue to set a high standard in the area of security protocols," said James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club. "Out of competition testing goes a long way toward ensuring a level playing field for all competitors and that is why The Jockey Club created its Graded Stakes Out-of-Competition Testing Grant Fund, which made $250,000 available to racetracks and racing commissions in 2014 and 2015. We also applaud both organizations for the new surveillance initiatives and we strongly encourage other jurisdictions and racetrack operators that haven't already done so to follow their lead and institute out of competition testing and increased surveillance policies as soon as possible."

"The horsemen support efforts to create a level playing field for all competitors, and to assure fans and handicappers that the integrity of the sport is of the utmost importance in New York," said Richard A. Violette, Jr., President of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Inc.

The Commission and NYRA have developed two similar sets of security protocols, designated Group A and Group B, for the 11 affected races.

Horses running in the Belmont Stakes, the Whitney and the Travers Stakes will be subject to Group "A" protocols, which include continuous 72-hour "dedicated watch" by experienced security personnel leading to post-time. During a "dedicated watch," one guard is stationed full-time for every horse programmed.

Horses running in the Wood Memorial, the Ogden Phipps, the Metropolitan Handicap, the Manhattan Stakes, the Sword Dancer, the Belmont Oaks, the Belmont Derby and The Jockey Club Gold Cup will be subject to Group "B" protocols, which include "intensified watch" by a team of six-to-eight experienced security personnel conducting mobile surveillance and direct horse checks at least three times per shift from 72 to 30 hours prior to their race, with continuous "dedicated watch" taking place for the final 30 hours before post-time.

All guards employed for both protocols are supposed to consist of experienced NYRA security personnel and investigators who receive ongoing education from the Organization of Racing Investigators (ORI) and the Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP).

For all horses drawn and programmed into Group "A" and "B" Races:

  • Horses must be on the grounds of the host NYRA facility no later than 72 hours prior to their anticipated post time. Exceptions will be at the discretion of the Stewards.
  • The Commission will take out-of-competition blood samples of horses competing in these races and send them to New York State Equine Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College for immediate testing.
  • The Commission will coordinate with other jurisdictions to obtain out-of-competition samples from horses that are not stabled in New York.
  • Once arrived, horses must remain on the NYRA facility grounds until after the running of the specified race. Exceptions will only be granted in the case of an unforeseeable emergency, as determined by the dedicated watch security in consultation with the Stewards. For applicable races at either Belmont or Aqueduct, horses may be stabled at either facility to be considered on NYRA grounds.
  • Horses shall reside in their trainers' current barns and/or at stalls on the grounds, which shall be monitored at all times by additional security personnel.
  • Commission personnel will monitor all treatments of participating horses performed by veterinarians prior to the scheduled post times of the respective races and examine all paraphernalia. No veterinarians will treat horses without first making an appointment with Commission investigators. 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 72 hours prior to the race 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 this issue is resolved. The Commission will post these records on its Web site each day.
  • Stall entry/exit logs will be maintained by security personnel. All persons including grooms, veterinarians, trainers, assistant trainers, farriers, owners or other connections must have a valid Commission license or NYRA badge on their person before entering the stall, engaging in contact with the horse or performing any service for the horse. All visits will be logged in by security along with the reason for the 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. will be subject to search and seizure, as provided by law, by both NYRA and the Commission.
  • As is current policy, Lasix administration will take place in the horses' own stalls by a NYRA veterinarian administrator. Syringes will be preserved by the Commission for possible testing.
  • On race day, no treatments will be permitted (other than Lasix for specifically designated horses) unless it is for an emergency or as approved by the Stewards.
  • All horses participating in the applicable race must report to the Assembly Barn no less than 45 minutes to their designated Post Time. Each individual trainer is responsible for ascertaining their designated Post Time. TCO2 blood sampling will take place in the Assembly Barn before horses are escorted to the paddock. A fine or a scratch may be issued by the NYRA Steward if horses are late to the Assembly Barn.
  • Participants in these races will receive priority for paddock schooling with security personnel present.

Edited NYRA release

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