New York racing regulators Jan. 20 released a set of proposed sweeping equine drug and recordkeeping rules that arose from the state's investigation into allegations made by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals against trainer Steve Asmussen during the 2013 Saratoga Race Course meet.
The rules go before the state's Gaming Commission board Jan. 23. They are likely to be given preliminary approval, which then starts a formal public comment period.
The agency's board agenda and supporting documents, posted on its web site Jan. 20, include a new rule to address exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhages in Thoroughbred racehorses. The rule would require trainers to keep records of serious EIPH incidents as well as cases of visible bleeding from a horse's nose. The records would have to be maintained for four years, and the Gaming Commission would create a reporting system to track such episodes.
The proposed rule also states that horses with a serious EIPH episode must get another endoscopic exam following their next races or workouts. Information about such incidents would also have to be made available to subsequent owners and trainers of a horse.
To agree with a newly amended model rule by the Association of Racing Commissioners International on out-of-competition testing, the gaming commission's set of proposed regulations also include ensuring that samples can be collected from a race horse even if it is not entered in a race or is located on the grounds of a racetrack. In a letter to the agency's board, agency counsel Edmund Burns wrote that the rule's goal is to detect drugs in violation of state rules—"particularly potent doping agents that increase red blood cells, mask pain, or increase a horse's ability to race beyond its natural limits.''
Another proposal would ban substances that the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibits in athletes unless a "restricted therapeutic use" exemption is granted. Further, drugs cannot be administered unless OK'd by an attending veterinarian and new restrictions on administrations of experimental substances would be imposed. Those were among the model rules okayed by the ARCI in December, the gaming commission said.
A fourth rule that came out of the PETA case, the state said, would require trainers to keep a record of medications they administer, except anti-ulcer medications. The records would have to be maintained a minimum of six months.
The rules were first informally proposed in November 2015 and were distributed to various industry stakeholders, including the New York Racing Association and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association.
The additional regulations being sought by the state come out of its probe of Asmussen, who was fined $10,000 in late 2015 by the Gaming Commission, which had investigated PETA's allegations made against Asmussen over treatment of horses. The Gaming Commission at the time said most of the most serious allegations by PETA against the trainer over the treatment of horses were "unfounded;" it said the fine against him was for alleged violations regarding post-race administration of thyroxine in horses he trained during a six-week period in 2013.