09/09/2013 3:02PM

New York approves corticosteroid rule


The New York State Gaming Commission on Monday unanimously approved a rule that will require the trainer of a claimed horse to provide records of corticosteroid administrations to the horse’s new trainer and owner within 48 hours of the claim.

The rule officially codifies an emergency rule that was in place in New York from December 2012 until March of this year, when the commission allowed the rule to lapse so trainers and veterinarians could begin to comply with separate requirements to file records of corticosteroid administrations with the commission. In the meantime, the commission had put in place a system allowing trainers and veterinarians to submit the veterinary records electronically.

The rule requires the horse’s former trainer to provide records of any corticosteroid administered into a horse’s joint within 30 days of the claim. Corticosteroids are not considered to have any pharmacological impact beyond five days of being administered, though some studies have found deleterious effects on joint tissues from chronic injections.

Gaming commission officials said during a meeting Monday that the new records will allow the new trainer to “make more fully informed decisions about veterinary care.”

Corticosteroid administrations have become more tightly regulated in New York since the release of a report in 2012 examining an unprecedented spate of deaths at Aqueduct Racetrack during its 2011-12 winter meet. The report recommended that no corticosteroid injections be allowed into a joint within seven days of a race, and that no intramuscular or intravenous injections be allowed within five days of a race.

Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatories that often are injected into joints to manage pain. Aside from New York, horse-racing regulators in many states have begun to pass new restrictions on anti-inflammatories and painkillers due to concern that the drugs are complicating pre-race examinations by veterinarians and contributing to breakdowns.

Also at the meeting, the commission’s executive director, Robert Williams, said the commission has finished its search for an equine medical director and is finalizing details for a candidate to be hired. The process is expected to be completed by the gambling commission’s next meeting in October, Williams said.

Williams also said an investigation is “ongoing” into an allegation lodged by trainer Eric Guillot that the rider of Will Take Charge used an electrical device during his win in the Aug. 24 Travers Stakes at Saratoga. Guillot made the accusation six days after the race, citing television footage of the gallop-out of the race, in which Will Take Charge’s rider, Luis Saez, can be seen transferring his whip from hand to hand.

Will Take Charge won the race by a nose over Moreno, a horse trained by Guillot and owned by Southern Equine Stable.