NY Begins Search for Equine Medical Director

The individual will report to Cornell University, officials said.

A search committee has been formed to find an equine veterinary medical director for the New York Racing Association.

NYRA and the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine made the announcement Feb. 13. The position will be established outside of NYRA and the individual will report to Cornell.

The NYRA Reorganization Board established the new position as a major element in its efforts to renew and reform horse racing in New York. The recommendation stemmed from a task force that studied catastrophic breakdowns at Aqueduct Racetrack during its 2011-12 winter/spring meet.

The equine veterinary medical director will oversee equine medication and health issues at NYRA tracks and recommend strategies to the NYRA Reorganization Board to enhance the health and safety of horses and jockeys and ensure the highest ethical standards in New York racing, officials said. The director will chair the new Equine Safety Review Board and work with the Equine Safety Committee of the NYRA Reorganization Board to ensure that all safety issues are addressed.

The search committee members are Michael Kotlikoff (chairman), dean at Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine; Anthony Bonomo and Steven Duncker, both NYRA board members; Dr. Mary Scollay Ward, equine medical director for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission; Lisa Fortier, an associate professor at Cornell; Thomas Divers, a Cornell professor; Terry Finley, president of West Point Thoroughbreds; trainer Ken McPeek of McPeek Racing; and Dr. Jerry Bilinski of Waldorf Farms.