05/21/2013 1:15PM

Belmont Stakes security protocols similar to last year


Horses competing in the June 8 Belmont Stakes will be subject to out-of-competition blood testing and 24-hour security beginning three days before the race, but will be allowed to remain in their own barn as part of security measures announced Tuesday by racing authorities.

Further, a veterinarian’s record of all medications and treatments given to horses from noon on June 5 – the time required for all Belmont Stakes runners to be on the grounds at Belmont Park – until the race is run must be provided to the New York State Gaming Commission, which will post these records on its web site daily leading up to the race.

The rules are similar to ones adopted for last year’s Belmont Stakes with the major difference being last year all Belmont Stakes horses were put in one barn three days before the race. Also, last year, the security protocols were not announced until May 30, 10 days before the race, and after the Kentucky Derby and Preakness were won by I’ll Have Another, whose trainer Doug O’Neill was facing scrutiny over medication violations.

The New York Gaming Commission will take out-of-competition blood samples of Belmont Stakes runners on June 5. Security personnel will monitor all treatments performed by veterinarians and examine all paraphernalia.

Entry-exit logs will be maintained by additional security from NYRA and the commission.

On June 7, no veterinarians will treat horses without first making an appointment with commission investigators. On race day, no treatment other than Lasix will be permitted, unless for an emergency or approved by the stewards.

On race day, all Belmont Stakes horses will be required to be in the assembly barn 45 minutes to an hour before post time for TCO2 testing and will then be escorted with security to the paddock.

Belmont Stakes starters wishing to paddock school in the days leading up to the Belmont may do so only with security present.

“With these measures, the public will once again be reassured that New York’s horse racing is run with the utmost integrity and consciousness of safety for the horse and rider,” said Robert Williams, acting executive director of the New York State Gaming Commission. “These actions will enhance an already-even playing field, give bettors peace of mind, and underscore New York’s commitment to the best horse racing in the industry.”

As was the case last year, the security protocols are in place for only the Belmont Stakes, not the other 12 races on the card.

◗ Trainer Bob Baffert said tuesday that he would run no more than one horse in the Belmont Stakes and that he was “leaning more Code West” than Power Broker. Code West won a first-level allowance at Pimlico on Saturday, the race immediately following the Preakness. He is currently training at Churchill Downs, as is Power Broker, who won an allowance race at Churchill in his most-recent start, and worked a half-mile on the turf there on Tuesday morning in 51.80 seconds.

– additional reportingby Jay Privman