The New York State Gaming Commission has announced the implementation of enhanced security and drug testing protocols for the upcoming International Trot. The protocols will require out-of-competition testing of all horses.
In addition to enhanced security measures, the protocols require out of competition testing of all horses participating. The process will be coordinated and supervised by Dr. Scott E. Palmer, the gaming commission’s equine medical director, and Daniel Haughney, the gaming commission’s director of investigations.
The protocols will provide additional safeguards to protect the integrity of the sport and the welfare of the horses. In 2015, the commission implemented the security and drug testing measures for Thoroughbred Grade 1 races with purses of at least $1 million. In addition to fostering transparency and accountability in high-profile races, the measures ensure compliance among horsepersons and veterinarians who travel to New York from across the world to compete.
The security protocols in effect for the Yonkers International Trot include the following:
- Horses racing in the Yonkers International Trot must be on the grounds by 1 p.m. on Friday, October 12, 2018. The horses will be subject to a continuous 24-hour dedicated watch by security personnel leading to post time. During a dedicated watch, a security guard or gaming commission investigator will keep the horses under constant surveillance. Anyone (i.e., veterinarians) entering a stall or otherwise having physical contact with a horse under watch will be directly observed by an investigator.
- Unless exempted by the presiding judge, no horse entered in the Yonkers International Trot may be treated after 1 p.m. on October 12, unless a commission security person is present. Security personnel will monitor all treatments performed by veterinarians. All syringes and containers for administered medication will be retained by the commission for possible testing.
- The commission is taking out-of-competition blood samples from participating horses well in advance of the race and sending them to the New York State Equine Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College for immediate testing. The commission will coordinate with other jurisdictions to obtain out-of-competition samples from horses that are not stabled in New York.
- No harness bags or containers will be allowed in the paddock.