New York Will Conduct Out-of-Competition Drug Tests in Horse Racing

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 >>

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