02/08/2013 3:06PM

Aqueduct: Braulio Baeza Jr. named chairman of Equine Safety Review Board


New York Racing Association steward Braulio Baeza Jr. has been appointed chairman of the newly established Equine Safety Review Board, which will review and assess fatal equine racing and training injuries at Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga.

The Equine Safety Review Board was one of the recommendations made by the New York Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety, which was formed last March after there were 21 equine fatalities during the Aqueduct meet. The recommendation was not implemented until after the death of four more horses at this year’s Aqueduct meet. Through 33 days of racing this winter at Aqueduct, there have been nine fatalities, one which was due to infection following surgery to repair a racing-related injury.

In addition to Baeza, other members of the safety review board include Dr. Anthony Verderosa, NYRA’s chief examining veterinarian; Glen Kozak, NYRA’s vice president/facilities and racing surfaces; and Ken Handal, NYRA’s acting general counsel and chief ethics officer. When hired, NYRA’s equine veterinary medical director will also sit on the board.

Outside veterinary representatives are Dr. Scott Palmer, a member of the New York Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety and independent practitioner; Dr. Brian Caserto, a pathologist at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine; and Dr. Ted Hill, Jockey Club steward. Representatives, not yet chosen, from the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and the New York State Gaming Commission will also be on the board.

“The mission of the Equine Safety Review Board is to create an educational process that emphasizes the safety of horses and jockeys,” said Anthony Bonomo, chairman of the Equine Safety Committee of the NYRA Reorganization Board of Directors. “We will use the information gleaned through this process to promote additional equine safety measures intended to prevent fatal injuries in the future.”