In a letter to the New York Racing Association, New York governor Andrew Cuomo calls for the organization to hire an independent investigator to look into the deaths of 16 horses [UPDATE: The number has risen to 20] since racing began on the inner-dirt track November 30th of last year. The number includes a horse who was euthanized Wednesday after injuring her right front leg.
JERRY BOSSERT, reporting for the New York Daily News writes:
“The State and NYRA need to develop best in class procedures to insure against needless injuries to horses and to riders,” read a letter Cuomo sent to NYRA President Charles Hayward Wednesday. “By this letter, we are advising NYRA to hire a qualified independent investigator or team of investigators to review the circumstances involving these breakdowns, analyze the causes, and recommend any necessary action to (limit) equine breakdowns at NYRA faciliites.”
The letter advised that NYRA should assume the costs of the investigation.
While NYRA claims the inner-dirt track is safe, they are moving racing to the main track on March 21, two weeks earlier than scheduled, a move that didn’t come in time for Hillsboro Bay, who was taken off the inner-dirt track after Wednesday’s finale in the equine ambulance after injuring her right front leg. She was later euthanized.
“This pattern of equine loss should not be allowed to continue,” Cuomo’s letter said.
Cuomo’s letter acknowledged the inherent risks in racing, but said those risks should not be an “excuse for our inaction.”
NYRA responded to Cuomo’s letter by telling the Daily News that it “will cooperate with the requests made in the letter, and make a recommendation to the Racing and Wagering Board regarding selection of an investigator.” Read more >>
Well done Governor Cuomo, for calling for an outside investigation. That means we have at least some hope that we will not be fobbed off with unintelligible statistics taken from information volunteered for a database that typically comes out of horse racing.
The NYRA have taken admirable actions in the past to protect Thoroughbred racehorses. How disappointed we are that the Governor of the State had to call on the NYRA in this way because of the alarming number of fatalities.
I am not sure what to make of this. Perhaps you can enlighten me.
The Associated Press reports:
NEW YORK — New York Racing Association veterinarians will begin administering Lasix to horses on race day starting Jan. 26.
Lasix is a diuretic used to treat pulmonary hemorrhaging in racehorses.
NYRA President Charles Hayward says Thursday the measure will eliminate the need for private vets to enter horses’ stalls on race day. He calls it an “important integrity measure.”
Last year, NYRA expanded its in-house drug testing program to detect illegal performance-enhancing substances. The association also ended operation of its security barn, allowing horses to be examined on race day in their own stalls.
Is the NYRA saying it does not trust a racehorse’s veterinarian to administer drugs? What about the trainers?
AP report via The Wall Street Journal >>
Hooray for Saratoga and the NYRA! Read on.
Cross-posted from Saratoga.com
Written by MARION ALTIERI
Saratoga is indeed the place rich in tradition, but of course, new traditions are created every now and then when events and people recognize that it’s time to create a new paradigm.
NYRA introduces a new Saratoga tradition beginning this year, and it’s a spectacular idea: for the first time since NYRA bravely made a strong stand against horse slaughter in 2009, the Saratoga meet will offer a Horse Retirement Awareness Day on Wednesday, August 18th.
It may seem a bit somber and premature to discuss an event that happens in the middle of August, in this issue of “The Starting Gate.” The Saratoga meet doesn’t kick off for another week, so August 18th is 33 days hence.
But this is a topic that should be thought about and worked on 365 days a year, and is, in fact, the life mission of many good people whose jobs are to preserve and protect our beloved horses. Read full article >>
Cross-posted from the New York Times
Written by JOE DRAPE
NEW YORK — (Dec. 30, 2009) The New York State Racing and Wagering Board will conduct unannounced drug testing of horses competing in the state even when they are stabled away from its racetracks.
The board chairman, John D. Sabini, said the new out-of-competition rules would begin Friday and apply to all horses within 180 days of a race date in New York. It allows the board to order state-licensed owners or trainers to bring horses to New York for testing when those horses are stabled out of state within a 100-mile radius of a New York racetrack.
The board and the New York Racing Association have moved aggressively to reform their practices and punishments at a time when horse racing is under scrutiny for its use of illegal drugs, overuse of legal medications and lax oversight of its horsemen. Sabini acknowledged that the sport had a drug problem and needed to restore its integrity.
“Horses are sometimes drugged by unscrupulous individuals seeking to either strengthen or weaken their performance in the next race,” Sabini said. “These new rules give us the tools we need to go after the cheaters.”
By adopting out-of-competition testing rules, he said, the board is protecting the wagering public and the health and safety of horses competing at New York’s four thoroughbred and seven harness tracks. Read more >>