01/27/2012 11:10AM

New York rule allows alcohol testing of jockeys

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The New York State Racing and Wagering Board approved a rule on Wednesday requiring raceday testing of jockeys for alcohol impairment, joining a number of other states with similar rules.

The rule will require riders to take breathalyzer tests prior to race cards. Any jockey whose breathalyzer reading meets or exceeds 0.05 will be considered impaired, prohibited from riding that day, and subjected to fines or suspensions.

The rule will subject Thoroughbred jockeys to the same tests that harness drivers in New York have had to take for several years. The rule was modeled on a regulation crafted by the Association of Racing Commissioners International that has been recommended for approval by all U.S. racing jurisdictions.

Many major racing states already have rules in place allowing for testing of riders for alcohol impairment, including Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, and New Jersey. Many of the rules in other states, however, require probable cause before the test can be conducted.