By: Tom Precious
The state of New York, citing costs savings, is considering a plan to halt a practice in which the state, at its expense, tests all claimed horses to check for the presence of drugs or other substances.
The New York State Gaming Commission is set to adopt a proposed rule Oct. 26 to make it the decision of an individual or group that obtains a horse via a claim whether to conduct urine or blood tests. The claimants would pay for those tests under the proposed rule, which is likely to be approved by the commission. A public comment period would then begin before final approval later this year or early next year.
“The purpose of this proposal is to eliminate the burdensome state expense of testing every claimed horse,” states a Sept. 16 staff document that’s part of the NYSGC board meeting packet.
Lee Park, a spokesman for the agency, declined to provide specific information in advance of the board meeting about how many such tests are conducted each year in New York or the program’s costs. He said New York is the only major racing jurisdiction that picks up the testing tab for claimed horses.
The proposed rule would affect the Thoroughbred and Standardbred industries.
As in most states, a claim can be voided if a horse tests positive for a banned substance, though the staff document to the board states that “many claimants do not elect to void a claim even if the sample tests positive.”
The NYSGC said stewards can still retain their authority to order state-paid testing of any horse.
The rule’s language states that each horse claimed in a race will undergo post-race urine and blood analysis “if the claimant requested such testing, at the expense of the claimant, on the claim form.” The new owner wishing to have a horse tested must have sufficient funds set aside in a track’s racing association account before the horse is tested.