In the scheme of things, the newly proposed change in Section 4043.13 of the New York's racing law would seem relatively low on the ladder of importance.
But the 13-word amendment proposed this week by the New York State Gaming Commission would rectify what has been a complaint by Thoroughbred owners and trainers for some time.
The proposal, expected to be approved next week by the regulatory panel, would change the time in which a Thoroughbred horse can be treated with electro-medical equipment from 24 hours before the start of a race program to 24 hours before the post time of the treated horse's race.
"It's been an issue," said Richard Violette Jr., president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. "We've been asking to get this for a number of years and it looks like they're finally going to do it."
The amendment wasn't on the NYSGC agenda released Sept. 20 for its Sept. 25 meeting. A revised agenda released later in the day added consideration of the rule change.
Violette said the current rule has been a problem for horses with starts later on a day's program. "It's not been enough time for treatment," Violette said.
The amended rule would bring electro/medical device treatments—such as ultrasonic and diathermy—in line with pre-race medication rules in New York. The commission's counsel, in a letter to the agency's commissioners this week, said the proposed change "would not impair the integrity of racing and would be in the best interest of the horses."
The treatments are used in massage therapy to improve blood flow. They should not be confused with extracorporeal shock wave therapy, which requires at least 10 days between treatment and a race.