New York adopts or approves proposed rules tied to Mid-Atlantic Strategic Plan

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: May 19, 2020

The New York State Gaming Commission May 19 unanimously approved several new regulations or rule proposals that are part of the Mid-Atlantic Strategic Plan to Reduce Equine Fatalities and have been adopted by other racing jurisdictions in the region.

Intra-articular treatments

The NYSGC adopted a rule amendment that changes the restricted time period for the use of corticosteroid joint injections to 14 days before a Thoroughbred’s next race from the current time period of seven days. The revised rule also changes the restricted time period of the intra-articular injection of any substance to a Thoroughbred to match the 14-day stand down for corticosteroid joint injections and requires trainers to maintain and submit records to the NYSGC of every corticosteroid joint injection with 48 horses of administration.

“The commission considered and rejected retaining the various current restricted time periods for joint injections,” the New York State Register says. “The importance to horse racing of minimizing the number of horse breakdowns related to pre-existing joint disease requires further protective measures. This also compelled the commission to propose the amendment that requires the reporting of all joint injections, which is based on the success of the (corticosteroid joint injections) reporting requirement for Thoroughbred racing.”

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

The NYSGC approved a proposed rule that limits administration of NSAIDs to one clinical dose during the week before a Thoroughbred races. The rule has been adopted by a number of Mid-Atlantic racing states and was co-authored by Dr. Scott Palmer, the NYSGC Equine Medical Director who regularly works on the Mid-Atlantic Strategic Plan.

Current New York rules allow the use of two NSAIDs—from a list of six approved substances—during the week a Thoroughbred races provided that one is not used within 96 hours of a race and the other within 48 hours. The rule also lowers the testing threshold for flunixin and phenylbutazone (Bute), two widely-used NSAIDs. The rule also reduces the list of NSAIDs that can be administered lawfully within one week before a horse races. The list is limited to three substances and those not widely used or for which an appropriate laboratory threshold in unclear have been removed.

Claiming rule

The NYSGC adopted a rule that allows a claimant to void a claim of a Thoroughbred racehorse that is discovered after the claiming race to have become lame or having experienced epistaxis due to exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. After an appropriate cooling-out period—lameness is not always apparent beforehand—the state veterinarian who supervises the test barn will examine the horse for lameness and bleeding from the nostrils. If the vet determines the horse has one or more of those conditions, the claimant or claimant’s trainer would be notified and have the option to void the claim.

In submitted comments, the New York Racing Association opposed using grading levels to evaluate lameness. NYSGC staff said the “purpose of using a gradation of lameness is to standardize the criteria used and to apply objective criteria to the subjective evaluation of a horse. The (NYSGC) chose the lameness scale of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, which has published criteria since 1999. While other scales exist, only the AAEP lameness scale has acceptance and use in the United States.” The threshold will be grade 2 lameness or higher under the new rule.

Furosemide (Lasix)

The NYSGC approved a proposed emergency rule that allows a horse eligible for Lasix administrations to be removed from the Lasix list for the limited purpose of running in a race in which conditions forbid the administration of Lasix on race day. The rule permits a trainer to request reinstatement to the Lasix list after the race without having to re-apply for the Lasix list with the eligibility criteria, including demonstrating another bleeding episode, being re-established.

Commission staff said that without the rule change, the horse could not run in a Lasix-free race unless it left the Lasix list, and the horse would need to re-apply for the Lasix list after having raced without the medication.

Digital tattoos

The NYSGC adopted a consensus rule to broaden the requirement of a lip tattoo for a Thoroughbred racehorse to include digital tattoos. The rule brings New York in compliance with a nationwide digital tattoo system introduced by The Jockey Club to first apply to horses that will be 2-year-olds this year.