NYRA Issues Restrictions on Shock-Wave Therapy

The New York Racing Association has issued a policy whereby horses that receive shock-wave therapy cannot race for at least 10 days after treatment. Earlier, the California Horse Racing Board ordered restrictions on shock-wave therapy effective July 24.

In shock-wave therapy, a machine transmits energy waves through the skin to underlying soft tissue and bones. Allegations of abuse of the treatments have come to light recently.

NYRA, which is about to move its racing operation from Belmont Park to Saratoga, said trainers or attending veterinarians must report all shock-wave treatments to NYRA's official veterinarian in confidence. Violators will be subject to the review of the Barn Area Violations Panel, which has the right to impose penalties that could include license revocation.

In California, horses that have undergone shock-wave therapy cannot be entered to race for seven days following a treatment. As in New York, treatments must be reported to the official state veterinarian.

The latest NYRA "house policy" follows a similar one on use and administration of erythropoietin, or EPO, which is believed to enhance performance in human and equine athletes. The practice of blood-doping, though not new, has recently cropped up on the hit lists of regulatory agencies and racetracks in several major racing states.