NYSGC adopts medication rules, considers claiming-purse ratio

Posted: July 17, 2018

The New York State Gaming Commission July 16 approved regulations for prohibited substances as contained in an Association of Racing Commissioners International model rule supported by multiple organizations in the racing industry.

The regulations pertain to substances that the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibits at all times unless an athlete has a restricted therapeutic use exemption, based on such exemptions that are appropriate for horse racing, the NYSGC said in a summary. The regulations also prohibit experimental use of doping agents with no generally accepted medical use with racehorses; and require that no drug may be administered to a horse engaged in horse racing activities except as approved by a veterinarian in a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

Officials noted that no comments were received during a public comment period. The model rule was developed and approved with input from the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, and The Jockey Club.

In other business, the NYSGC discussed a request by the New York Racing Association for a “modest adjustment” in the claiming price-to-purse ratio that stemmed from a comprehensive report released in September 2012 after a series of catastrophic injuries at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The task force found a link between the breakdowns and lower-level claiming horses racing for inflated purses, some more than three times their claiming price. The former New York State Racing and Wagering Board mandated that a purse be no higher than twice the claiming price, but the task force recommended a ratio of 1.6.

The NYSGC said NYRA officials said the circumstances that led to the purse restrictions no longer exist, and that NYRA is at a disadvantage in attracting horses for certain classes. The requested change isn’t likely to impact the health and safety of racehorses, NYRA said.

In regard to Aqueduct, the task force at the time said an inflated purse structure that resulted from video lottery terminal revenue “attracted a number of lower-level and lesser-quality claiming horses to race at Aqueduct, elevating these horses to a level of competition that was beyond their ability.”

According to Equine Injury Database statistics, Aqueduct in 2012 had a catastrophic injury rate in races of 3.00 per 1,000 starts, which was a spike from the previous three years when it averaged about 2.25 per 1,000 starts. From 2013-17, however, the rate was below 2.00 in all but one year; in 2016 it was 1.05 per 1,000 starts.

The NYSGC said it would study NYRA’s request and reach out to industry stakeholders for comment.