State racing regulators in New York this week are expected to give final approval to a new rule requiring race-day blood alcohol content testing of Thoroughbred jockeys.
The regulatory change, introduced in August by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, would set a maximum blood alcohol content level of .05 percent for jockeys.
The final rule is expected to be approved at the board’s Jan. 25 meeting.
The state has had the legal authority to test jockeys, but this new change is the first time New York will make it mandatory for testing of jockeys on days they are scheduled to race. The state years ago required race-day BAC testing for harness industry jockeys.
“It is a safety issue, both for the people and animals involved in racing, and it’s about time we do this in racing,” racing board chairman John Sabini said when the rule was formally proposed over the summer.
Violations of the new rule – either testing positive for alcohol or refusing the test – can range from suspension and fines to license revocation. Officials said in most cases jockeys testing positive would be required to participate in a substance abuse program.
Officials say the new rule will put New York in compliance with an effort by the Racing Commissioners International.
The new rule applies to jockeys “and other licensees” and would require each track to provide a BAC testing device. Tests would be performed by racing board employees based at the tracks. Individuals who test positive are immediately banned from participating “in a licensed capacity on that day,” the rule states.
|State||Is there BAC testing of jockeys/drivers?||State Rule or In-House Track Policy?||BAC Threshold||Differ between TB/HB/Etc.?|
|Nebraska||Yes with Cause||State Rule||0.05||No|
|Delaware||Random or Probable Cause||DTRC Rules||0.04||TB and Arabian|
|Illinois||Yes with Cause||IRB Rules||0||No|
|Wyoming||Yes with Cause||State Rule||0.05||No|
|New Jersey||Random or Probable Cause||State Rule||0.05||No|
|Washington||Random or Probable Cause||State Rule||0.02||No|
|Minnesota||Yes with Cause||State Rule||0.04||No|
|Oregon||Yes with Cause||State Rule||0.02||TB and Quarter|
|Michigan||Yes with Cause||State Rule||0.05||No|
|Maryland||Random or Probable Cause||State Rule||0.05||No|
|Louisiana||Yes - Mandatory||State Rule||0.05||TB and Quarter|
|New York||Yes - Mandatory - Drivers||State Rule||0.05||Yes|
|Indiana||Yes - Mandatory||State Rule||0.05||No|
|Ontario||Yes - Mandatory||State Rule||0.02||No|
|Ohio||Yes - Mandatory||State Rule||0.035||No|
|Kentucky||Yes - All, Random or Probable Cause. Policy is to test daily.||State Rule||0.05||No|