The New York State Gaming Commission and New York Racing Association announced enhanced security protocols July 24 for horses running in the $1.5 million Whitney Stakes (gr. I) and $1.25 million Travers Stakes (gr. I).
The security protocols are nearly identical those in place for the July 5 stakes extravaganza at Belmont Park.
All horses potentially participating in the Whitney and the Travers will be subject to out-of-competition testing and must be on the Saratoga Race Course grounds by noon the Wednesday before the two races. The Whitney is set for Aug. 2 and the Travers will be run Aug. 23.
Trainers of horses participating in the races must provide complete veterinary records for three days leading up to the races. Additionally, horses will be monitored at all times during the 72-hour period leading up to these races.
The commission and NYRA have mandated the following protocols and steps:
—The commission will take out-of-competition blood samples of horses competing in the races and send them to the New York State. Equine Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College for immediate analysis. The commission will coordinate with other jurisdictions to obtain out-of-competition samples from horses that are not stabled in New York.
—Horses participating in the races must be on the grounds by noon Wednesday before the races. Any exceptions will be at the discretion of the stewards.
—Horses will be monitored at all times by additional security personnel for 72 hours leading up to the races.
—Security personnel will monitor all treatments performed by veterinarians. All containers for medications administered will be retained by the commission for possible testing.
—A full daily veterinarian's record of all medications and treatments given to horses participating in the races from noon Wednesday of the week before the races will be provided to the commission. Any changes to treatment must be disclosed to the commission. If medications and treatment records are not provided to the commission prior to treatment, veterinarians will not be permitted to treat the horse until the issue is resolved. The commission will post these records on its website each day leading up to the races.
—Entry-exit logs will be maintained by additional security from NYRA and the commission. All persons, including veterinarians, trainers, assistant trainers, farriers, owners, or other connections, upon entering a stall must have a valid NYSGC license on their person. Such persons will be logged in by security personnel with the reason for their visit. Routine stall and horse maintenance by identified grooms and staff will be monitored but will be exempt from logging.
—All equipment, feed, and hay bales, etc. are subject to administrative searches and checks.
—As is current policy, Lasix administration will take place in the horses' own stalls by a NYRA veterinarian. Syringes will be preserved by the commission for possible testing.
—On the day before the Whitney and the Travers, no veterinarians will treat horses without first making an appointment with commission investigators.
—The commission, in conjunction with NYRA, will appoint a single 24-hour point person each day for trainers and connections to contact in case of an emergency.
—On the days of the Whitney and the Travers, no treatment will be permitted (beyond Lasix for specifically designated horses) unless it is for an emergency or as approved by the stewards.
—On race day, horses participating in the Whitney and the Travers will be required to be in the assembly barn between 45 minutes to one hour before post time for TCO2 sampling. They will then be escorted with security to the paddock.
—Horses in the races will receive priority for paddock schooling with security present.