NY Detention Barn Plan Gets Mixed Reaction

New York Racing Association officials are scrambling to finalize particulars for a detention barn, promised in time for the opening of the Belmont Spring meeting on May 4. Meanwhile, the reaction among horsemen has been mixed, with concerns over the inconvenience to trainers, staff, and horses.

With opening day less than a month away, final details won't be known for at least another week. But horsemen have opinions.

"It sounds like it's a done deal so we're going to have to live with it," said Richard Violette Jr. "I'm not a big fan. It will cost horsemen more money to have a guy over there all day. The smaller trainer with only a few horses will suffer the most."

But Violette said that he would comply without complaint and is in favor of any policy that helps bolster the integrity of racing.

"I fully understand the method to the madness," he said. "The goals are admirable. So while it's an inconvenience, it might be something we have to do."

Richard Dutrow Jr., fresh off a runaway training title over the winter, was more dismissive about the prospect of having his horses banished to a detention barn for several hours before racing.

"It doesn't matter," he said. "Whatever they want to do.

"I can't see it helping the horses, so I don't like it. That's the only thing I care about is the horses."

Dutrow said the solution is to run more horses out of town, but added he probably would not go that route.

"I don't know what they're up to, but the only thing I care about is the welfare of my horses."

Violette added that, while a detention barn may help deter would-be cheaters, there are always those who will find ways around it.

"I think always, not just in racing, but in baseball, football, or whatever, there is going to be some element that tries to gain an advantage.

"It's a bit of a pilot program. I'm sure it will be very, very fluid, and I'm sure they'll be open to changing it until they find something that really works."