01/08/2016 1:42PM

Maryland Jockey Club requiring joint injections to claimed horses to be disclosed

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Trainers of claimed horses will have to provide the new connections of the horse with information about any joint injections administered to the horse within the previous 30 days under a house rule adopted by the Maryland Jockey Club, the owner of Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course.

The rule, modeled on a house rule in place at Florida’s Gulfstream Park, which is owned by the MJC’s parent company, will require the previous trainer of the horse to inform the state veterinarian about the injections, and the state vet will then relay that information to the new trainer, said Sal Sinatra, the MJC’s director of racing. Sinatra said the rule will not require the previous trainer to acknowledge any treatments other than the injections, which are often used to treat soreness or arthritis.

A similar rule has been adopted in New York following a recommendation of a task force that examined a spate of fatalities at Aqueduct in the winter of 2012.Alan Foreman, the chairman of the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, which has an affiliate in Maryland, was a member of the task force. Foreman said the rule “has worked well” in New York and that the THA is fully supportive of the new Maryland rule.

“There’s been some grumbling, but that’s to be expected,” Foreman said. “This is all for the benefit of the horse. There’s nothing disciplinary about it.”

Sinatra said he would meet with Laurel’s veterinary practitioners on Saturday to explain the rule. So far, he said, horsemen have complied with the rule, which went into effect Jan. 1 after appearing on the track’s overnights for several weeks.

Sinatra said he doesn’t expect pushback on the rule, despite concerns by many owners and veterinarians about the disclosure of veterinary records. The rule has been put in place as a condition of entering horses in races at MJC tracks, Sinatra said.

“The way I see it, if the owner doesn’t want to give that information out, he doesn’t need to run at my racetracks,” Sinatra said. “If a veterinarian wants to get in the way, he doesn’t need to be practicing on my grounds. It’s as simple as that. This is for the horse.”