A large number of trainers in New York have failed to comply with a new state rule requiring them to take annual continuing education coursework—despite threatened penalties by the state.
In response, state regulators Dec. 22 offered trainers what they are calling a one-time, brief extension to meet the new education mandate. Trainers not taking the four-hour coursework by Feb. 15 face financial penalties and license suspension. The deadline was Dec. 31.
The New York State Gaming Commission in December 2016 approved the requirement affecting Thoroughbred trainers and assistant trainers, some of whom complained that their industry was being singled out by the rule that did not apply to harness trainers.
The coursework—available online through the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and the gaming commission, as well as in-person courses offered at various outlets—is focused on equine health and safety issues, as well as what the agency has billed as "small business, ethical, and human resource topics.''
In a Dec. 22 notice from Dr. Scott Palmer, the state's equine medical director, trainers were reminded of their continuing education edict. "Completion of this requirement is a condition of a trainer's licensure to participate in New York racing," Palmer wrote.
However, in a review of the program's database, officials found that "many" licensed trainers in New York have not notified the state that they have completed their 2017 education coursework.
"Since this is the inaugural year of the continuing education program, the commission has anticipated granting a single, 45-day extension to the New York-licensed Thoroughbred trainers and/or assistant trainers to facilitate meeting the requirement for 2017," Palmer wrote Friday.
Trainers and assistant trainers who do not comply will face monthly fines starting Feb. 15, Palmer warned, in addition to being unable to renew their racing license when they expire.
A gaming commission spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for information about how many trainers and assistant trainers are licensed in New York State and how many so far have completed the requirement for continuing education courses in 2017.