OK of NY Jock Blood Alcohol Tests Expected

Requires race-day testing for riders; approval likely at Jan. 25 NYSR&W board meeting

State racing regulators in New York this week are expected to give final approval to a new rule requiring race-day blood alcohol content testing of Thoroughbred jockeys.

The regulatory change, introduced in August by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, would set a maximum blood alcohol content level of .05 percent for jockeys.

The final rule is expected to be approved at the board’s Jan. 25 meeting.

The state has had the legal authority to test jockeys, but this new change is the first time New York will make it mandatory for testing of jockeys on days they are scheduled to race. The state years ago required race-day BAC testing for harness industry jockeys.

“It is a safety issue, both for the people and animals involved in racing, and it’s about time we do this in racing,” racing board chairman John Sabini said when the rule was formally proposed over the summer.

Violations of the new rule – either testing positive for alcohol or refusing the test – can range from suspension and fines to license revocation. Officials said in most cases jockeys testing positive would be required to participate in a substance abuse program.

Officials say the new rule will put New York in compliance with an effort by the Racing Commissioners International.

The new rule applies to jockeys “and other licensees” and would require each track to provide a BAC testing device. Tests would be performed by racing board employees based at the tracks. Individuals who test positive are immediately banned from participating “in a licensed capacity on that day,” the rule states.

State Is there BAC testing of jockeys/drivers? State Rule or In-House Track Policy?  BAC Threshold Differ between TB/HB/Etc.?
Nebraska Yes with Cause State Rule 0.05 No
Delaware Random or Probable Cause DTRC Rules 0.04 TB and Arabian
Illinois Yes with Cause IRB Rules 0 No
Wyoming Yes with Cause State Rule 0.05 No
New Jersey Random or Probable Cause State Rule 0.05 No
Washington Random or Probable Cause State Rule 0.02 No
Minnesota Yes with Cause State Rule 0.04 No
Oregon Yes with Cause State Rule 0.02 TB and Quarter
Michigan Yes with Cause State Rule 0.05 No
Maryland Random or Probable Cause State Rule 0.05 No
Louisiana Yes - Mandatory State Rule 0.05 TB and Quarter
New York Yes - Mandatory - Drivers State Rule 0.05 Yes
Indiana Yes - Mandatory State Rule 0.05 No
Ontario Yes - Mandatory State Rule 0.02 No
Ohio Yes - Mandatory State Rule 0.035 No
Kentucky Yes - All, Random or Probable Cause.  Policy is to test daily. State Rule 0.05 No