Aqueduct Racetrack

Aqueduct Racetrack

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NY Regulators to Open Database to Public

Information on equine deaths, board rulings to be made readily available.

Racing regulators in New York are set to release a comprehensive database, searchable by the public, of every equine death over the past three years at New York racetracks.

The database, in the works for months before the recent equine death controversy at Aqueduct Racetrack, will be on the state Racing and Wagering Board’s website. It is to be searchable by track, trainer, owner, horse name, and a range of other information, according to sources at the racing board.

Racing board chairman John Sabini said during a March 28 board meeting that his agency will shortly be making public a “significant database’’ regarding equine deaths and board rulings against jockeys, trainers, and others in the industry. He did not elaborate.

A state source told The Blood-Horse that the new database is an attempt to bring information now held by the board internally and make it available to the public. “There’s nothing to be hide,’’ an official said.

The new database is believed to be one of the only kind like it in the nation where anyone – from bettors to animal rights groups to lawmakers – can research every horse death the past three years in New York, whether occurring on track during a race or off track during training. The database, expected to be released early next week, can be searched in any number of ways, including date of death, reason for fatality, and horse name. The database will also include all injuries and incidents involving race horses.

An existing database is also being updated to make it far more user friendly. That database will list all the rulings by the board going back several years. Users will be able to search for any ruling issued against an owner, trainer, groom, or any other person licensed by the board.

Sabini said his agency is already working with a new panel charged with investigating the deaths of 21 horses at Aqueduct between Nov. 30 and March 18. The panel’s members include retired jockey Jerry Bailey; Alan Foreman, who is the chairman of the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association; Dr. Scott Palmer, the hospital director and staff surgeon at the New Jersey Equine Clinic and past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners; and, Dr. Mary Scollay, equine medical director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

“The board has undertaken a comprehensive review of each fatality and circumstance regarding each one, including things like track conditions, trainer, ownership, place on the track, any and all variables,’’ Sabini said.

The review is not just looking at equine deaths at Aqueduct, but all New York facilities, officials said.

Sabini said the review will also determine if any direct actions are needed by the racing board, or if existing racing rules should be changed. “There is no limit as to what we would consider to make the process better,’’ he said.