Move to Belmont Stakes Barn Orderly
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
I'll Have Another was the last to arrive at the Belmont Stakes barn.
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The move of all horses entered in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) to Barn 2 at Belmont Park was an orderly process June 6, with 4-5 morning-line favorite I'll Have Another   the last to arrive just a few minutes past the noon deadline.

Accompanied by workers from trainer Doug O’Neill’s stable and a large media hoard, the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner walked the several hundred yards from Barn 9 to Barn 2. Although he was frisky and jumping around on the walk, I’ll Have Another’s walk was uneventful.

O’Neill said it’s ironic that I’ll Have Another, who is seeking to become the 12th winner of racing’s coveted Triple Crown, was bedded down in stall 12 in Barn 2.

After the Flower Alley colt settled in to his stall, he was reluctant to immediately eat his oats. O’Neill said that was normal for a horse when it moves, and did not indicate any dissatisfaction with the new digs.

The New York State Racing and Wagering Board last week notified Belmont trainers of the use of a single barn for all starters and the set of protocols that will be applied to all Belmont starters. The SRWB states that these protocols are to “ensure the safety of horses and riders, and to ensure that the integrity of the sport is upheld.”

There is stiff security at the stakes barn, which has restricted access and each visitor is required to sign in. As stable personnel moved tack and other equipment into the barn the morning of June 6, each item was inspected and recorded by representatives of the SRWB.

Media are not permitted in the barn, but an area just outside the barn has been set aside for trainer interviews.

An out-of-competition blood test, which will be sent to the board’s drug lab for immediate review, was taken of each of the 12 Belmont horses upon arrival.

Michael Matz, who shipped Union Rags   from his base at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland and arrived at Belmont Park around 11 a.m., reiterated his previous criticism of the late decision by the SRWB to mandate a special barn for all Belmont participants.

“It’s ridiculous. If it wasn’t for the horse and the owner…” he said, his voice trailing off in obvious frustration.

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who will be represented by Optimizer in the Belmont, took issue with the organization of the barn. With only the 12 Belmont horses being housed in the barn, Lukas said it was not necessary to put all the horses in adjoining stalls. He said it would have been more practical to have an empty stall between each horse.

With nine other horses under his care at Belmont Park, Lukas said having one horse located at a different barn posed logistical issues. He said New York should have followed the practice of Churchill Downs, in which individual security personnel are assigned to each Kentucky Derby horse at their own barns.

According to the NYSRWB protocols, the stakes barn will operate under the following procedures.
--Limited number of personnel will be permitted to enter, including NYRA and RWB staff, the licensed trainer, licensed assistant trainer, licensed veterinarian, licensed groom, licensed hot walker, and licensed owner(s).

--Entry/exit logs: All persons entering the stall, engaged in contact with the horse or performing any service for the horse must be licensed and must also be logged in including the reason(s) for the specific  visit or function to be performed. NYRA will maintain the log with Board oversight. Routine stall and horse management by a groom will be monitored but be exempt from separate logging. If a trainer, assistant trainer, vet or a NYRA vet enters the stall, they should be placed on the log and the reason(s) for the visit noted on the log.

--Administrative searches and checks of all equipment, feed, hay, bales, etc.

--Limited and controlled veterinary access/monitoring of veterinary approach to an entered horse. All veterinarians will be logged in and escorted.

--Guards will be placed at each open doorway and doors will be kept closed with one entry point only.

--NYRA will assign additional security guards to the stakes barn at all times beginning June 6 through the running of the race.

--Thoroughbred Racing Protecting Bureau (TRPB) will provide investigators June 7, remaining on site through the running of the Belmont Stakes.

--No food and beverage for human consumption will be allowed in or around stall space.

--Horses will be identified upon arrival and assigned to a specific (numbered) stall.

--Lasix administration will take place in designated stalls only by a NYRA veterinarian.

--NYRA will designate a specific press area at the stakes barn.

--All vets will provide written notice of intended treatment prior to treatment of the horse. Any changes must be noted.
 

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