NY approves proposed rule change for therapeutic treatments

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Sept. 25, 2017

A proposed adjustment to the time frame in which electromagnetic therapy can be administered to Thoroughbreds before a race was approved by the New York State Gaming Commission Sept. 25.

The amendment to the current rule was endorsed by the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.

Under the current regulation, ultrasonic, diathermy or other electro-medical equipment treatment is permitted 24 hours prior to the start of a racing program. The amendment sets the timing at 24 hours before post time for a race, which is consistent with NYSGC regulations for administration of some therapeutic medications.

Ultrasonic treatment involves use of sound waves, while diathermy provides heat through electrical currents. The regulation doesn’t pertain to shock-wave therapy, which isn’t permitted within 10 days of a race while under supervision; that is governed by a different rule.

NYSGC Equine Medical Director Dr. Scott Palmer said NYTHA approached him about the current regulation and requested an amendment in light of changes in the racing schedule.

“It’s related to the evolution of the racing festival concept,” Palmer said. “First post time has been moved up, sometime to 11:30 a.m., and the way the rule is written it makes it difficult to get treatments done in time before the start of a racing day.”

Palmer said use of electromagnetic therapy can be expensive, and isn’t always available for multiple horses at one time. He also said the amendment would bring the therapy in line with therapeutic medication cutoffs.

In a memo included in the meeting packet, NYSGC staff said the change “would not impair the integrity of racing and would be in the best interest of the horses.”