Enhanced Security Protocol To Be In Effect For Aqueduct’s Wood Memorial

The New York Gaming Commission and New York Racing Association (NYRA) announced that due to the likelihood of a Grade 1 winner running in the Wood Memorial, the Commission will invoke special security protocols for the race.

Should there be a Grade 1 winner in the field for the race, NYRA will increase the purse to $1-million. With the likelihood of this occurring, the high-profile nature of this race, the necessity of planning and preparing for all participants, and the implementation of such protocols, the Commission has decided to invoke enhanced protocols at this time.

In addition to fostering transparency in this high-profile race, the last New York race in the Kentucky Derby Series, the protocol ensures compliance among horsepersons and veterinarians who come to New York to compete.

“By enhancing our protocols for this race the Commission is continuing its work to protect the integrity of the sport,” said commission acting executive director Ron Ochrym. “We take our role seriously and believe that being transparent is the best way to make the race fair for all involved.”

As in past years, the field running in the Wood Memorial this year will be subject to the Group “B” protocols. Those races subject to such protocols include the Ogden Phipps, the Metropolitan Handicap, the Manhattan Stakes, the Sword Dancer, the Belmont Oaks and the Jockey Club Gold Cup. The protocol includes an “intensive watch” by experienced security personnel conducting mobile surveillance and direct horse checks at least three times per shift from 72-30 hours prior to their race, with continuous “dedicated watch” taking place in the 30 hours before post time.

All security personnel employed for this Group “B” protocol consist of experienced NYRA security personnel and investigators who receive ongoing education from the Organization of Racing Investigators and the Racing Officials Accreditation Program.

For all horses drawn and programmed into Group “B” Races:

  • Horses must be on the grounds of the host NYRA facility no later than 72 hours prior to their anticipated post time. Exceptions will be at the discretion of the Stewards.
  • The Commission will take out-of-competition blood samples of horses competing in these races and send them to New York Equine Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College for immediate testing. The Commission will also coordinate with other jurisdictions to obtain out-of-competition samples from horses that are not stabled in New York.
  • Once arrived, horses must remain on the NYRA facility grounds until after the running of the specified race. Exceptions will only be granted in the case of an unforeseeable emergency, as determined by watch security in consultation with the Stewards.
  • Horses must reside in their trainers’ current barns and/or at stalls on the grounds, which will be monitored at all times by additional security personnel.
  • Commission personnel will monitor all treatments of participating horses performed by veterinarians prior to the scheduled post times of the respective races and examine all paraphernalia. No veterinarians will treat horses without first making an appointment with Commission investigators. All containers for medications administered will be retained by the Commission for possible testing.
  • A full daily veterinarian’s record of all medications and treatments given to horses 72 hours prior to the race will be provided to the Commission. Any changes to treatment must be disclosed to the Commission. If medications and treatment records are not provided to the Commission in a timely manner and prior to treatment, veterinarians will not be permitted to treat the horse until this issue is resolved. The Commission will post these records on its web site daily.
  • Stall entry/exit logs will be maintained by security personnel. All persons including grooms, veterinarians, trainers, assistant trainers, farriers, owners or other connections must have a valid Commission license and NYRA-issued badge on their person before entering the stall, engaging in contact with the horse or performing any service for the horse. All visits will be logged in by security along with the reason for the visit. Routine stall and horse maintenance by identified grooms and staff will be monitored but will be exempt from logging.
  • All equipment, feed, hay bales, etc. will be subject to search and seizure, as provided by law, by both NYRA and the Commission.
  • As is current policy, Lasix administration will take place in the horses’ own stalls by a NYRA veterinarian administrator. Syringes will be preserved by the Commission for possible testing.
  • On race day, no treatments will be permitted (other than Lasix for specifically designated horses) unless it is for an emergency or as approved by the Stewards.
  • All horses participating in the applicable race must report to the Assembly Barn no less than 45 minutes to their designated Post Time. Each individual trainer is responsible for ascertaining their designated post time. TCO2blood sampling will take place in the Assembly Barn before horses are escorted to the paddock. A fine may be issued or a scratch may be ordered by the NYRA Steward if horses are late to the Assembly Barn.
  • Participants in these races will receive priority for paddock schooling with security personnel present.

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