After an international search, the New York State Gaming Commission announced Jan. 13 that Dr. Scott Palmer has been appointed the equine medical director for the racing regulator.
The announcement, also made by the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, said Palmer would be responsible for overseeing the health and safety of horses at all New York State Thoroughbred and Standardbred tracks. Palmer will advise the commission on equine medication policies as well as the safety and condition of racetrack facilities and surfaces.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the hiring of the accomplished New Jersey veterinarian.
"Dr. Palmer brings a wealth of experience and expertise that will benefit the entire horse racing community," Cuomo said. "His skills and knowledge are crucial to the safety and well-being of New York's world-class racehorses and I am proud to welcome him to the gaming commission."
Palmer also will serve as an adjunct professor at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine, where he will be responsible for developing and coordinating continuing education programs for veterinarians and trainers related to medication and equine injuries. He will coordinate research on equine sports medicine topics and collaborate with faculty on epidemiological studies to analyze equine safety issues.
"We are honored to have Dr. Palmer on the team," said Robert Williams, acting executive director for the gaming commission. "His decades of work creating critical health and safety improvements in horse racing are well recognized and make him the ideal candidate to bring important equine safety measures to life at all New York State tracks. Dr. Palmer is an outstanding veterinarian and a consummate professional and we look forward to working with him."
Palmer chaired the New York Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety, which was formed at the request of Cuomo in 2012 in the wake of 21 equine fatalities during Aqueduct's 2011-12 winter meet. The New York State equine medical director position was established last year as a key recommendation of that task force.
Palmer serves as a board member for the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance Advisory Board and the Thoroughbred Charities of America. He previously served on the Association of Racing Commissioners International Special Task Force on Medication and chaired the International Summit on Race Day Medication as well as the Ad-Hoc RMTC Committee on Race Day Security. He served two terms as member of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Advisory Committee.
"I am honored to join the commission and to help bolster New York's ongoing commitment to equine health and safety," Palmer said. "Having a sole veterinary point of contact overseeing all New York racehorses and having access to Cornell's array of resources is simply smart policy. I am eager to get to work, and I look forward to working with our partners to create as safe an environment as possible for our horses."
Since his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine in 1976, Palmer has worked as a staff clinician at the New Jersey Equine Clinic, serving as hospital director since 1997. He is a two-time recipient of the New Jersey Equine Practitioners Veterinarian of the Year award, as well as a recipient of the AAEP President's Award in 2009 and the AAEP Distinguished Service Award in 2010.