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New York Equine Safety Rules Approved

The rules have been in place since late last year but required commission approval.

Racing regulators in New York Aug. 1 made permanent a set of equine safety rules and conditionally approved two new wagers requested by the New York Racing Association, which is now a state-run entity.

The New York Gaming Commission approved the safety rules that were put in place on an emergency basis following a series of equine deaths during the 2012 winter meet at Aqueduct Racetrack. The rules were due to expire in September.

The rules, recommended by the New York Task Force on Racehorse Health, extend the periods when corticosteroids and clenbuterol can be administered before a race. The provisions, for instance, ban the use of corticosteroids administered via joint injection for seven days before a race, up from the previous five days. And clenbuterol's use is banned for 14 days before a race, up from the previous 96 hours.

The rules include new record-keeping and reporting procedures for trainers.

The commission is expected to make permanent a rule due to expire that allows new owners to void a claim if a horse is transported off the track following a claiming race.

The new wagers being sought by NYRA are called a Pick Five and Show Quinella. Several paragraphs of the proposal, as shown on the commission's pre-meeting agenda notice, were blacked out, but the document suggested the commission will have to settle what happens in the event one of the races in a Pick Five series is moved from a turf to dirt surface.

NYRA proposes to set the pari-mutuel takeout rate on the two new wagers at 15%, lower than the 24% takeout, for instance, on the Pick Six wager.

The commission also approved a set of rules banning racetrack-based video lottery terminal facilties from marketing themselves as "casinos" if they are located in a region of the state currently home to Class III Indian-owned casinos. In the past, such facilities were restricted to marketing themselves as video lottery facilities to more accurately depict their offerings.

The rules also restrict the type of VLT devices the tracks operating in the Indian casino exclusivity zones can offer.

The VLT regulations come after Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this spring cut deals with three Native American tribes operating upstate to either start or resume slot machine revenue payments to the state in return for a number of demands by the Native American casino operators, including the marketing and machine restrictions on the racinos.