New York regulators are expected to adopt a rule Nov. 29 setting new standards for the use of shock wave therapy on Thoroughbred horses, and should also make permanent an existing rule impacting claiming races that was adopted early this year on an emergency basis.
The New York State Racing and Wagering Board is poised to ban horses from entering a race or "breezing" during training sessions for at least 10 days after the shock wave therapy treatments. Regulators amended an earlier plan crafted over the summer that would have kept horses getting such therapy from any training, such as walking or trotting, during the 10-day post treatment period.
The rule will cover extracorporeal shock wave therapy, radial pulse wave therapy or "similar machines and treatments'' that must be administered by a veterinarian. The rule change comes after an examination of the issue by the state racing board beginning in 2011 that was then included in a report last September by a state task force.
The task force assigned to come up with ways to make racing safer following a large number of equine deaths last winter at Aqueduct Racetrack. Only machines approved by the racing board will be permitted for use on Thoroughbred racehorses.
The treatments, under the new rule, must also be reported within one day to the state steward. The rule is meant to permit the therapies but in a way to ensure they are "administered in a uniform manner that protects race integrity and the safety of both the horse and the rider,'' according to a staff memo to New York racing board members.
The emergency claiming rule expected to be made permanent requires the minimum price of a claiming race horse "to be at least 50 percent of the value of the purse for the race.'' A memo by the racing board agency says the rule is needed "to ensure that the horses are competitive in class proportional to the purses for which they are racing.''
Officials believe the rule will reduce the number of injuries in horses in claiming races.