03/30/2012 4:52PM

New York to consider voiding claim if horse dies during race

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The New York State Racing and Wagering Board is scheduled to consider an emergency rule on Monday that would void a claim of a horse that dies during the running of the race or is euthanized because of an injury suffered during the race, according to a notice it posted on its website on Friday.

The board will consider the rule at a time when the state’s racing industry is under scrutiny because of a string of deaths during Aqueduct’s current race meeting. Twenty-one horses have died at Aqueduct since the meet opened in November, spurring an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths.

“This proposal is intended to reduce the incidence of injuries and fatalities to horses in claiming races as well [as] protect the safety of jockeys,” the notice said. “This amendment will reduce or remove the incentive to racing an unsound horse in an environment where it may be claimed. The current rule provides an incentive to race an unsound horse because it might be claimed and transferred to the claimant regardless of injury or death.”

If adopted, New York would become the second state to pass a rule voiding claims for horses that suffer catastrophic injuries on the track. The California Horse Racing Board passed an indentical rule last year.

Similar proposals have been discussed in a number of racing jurisdictions over the past several years, but amendments to current racing rules have sometimes failed to gain traction because of concern that the change would lead to the adoption of other exceptions to claims, such as a horse suffering an injury in a race.

The New York rule would void claims only for horses that are put down “on the track.” A claim will not be voided if a horse suffers an injury during a race and is later euthanized after being removed from the track, according to officials for the board.