12/13/2016 7:49PM

New York State Gaming Commission mandates continuing education for trainers

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NEW YORK - Trainers in New York must complete four hours of continuing education courses annually in order to maintain their license, under a rule passed Tuesday by the New York State Gaming Commission.

The rule requires that all Thoroughbred trainers, including assistant and private trainers, obtain continuing education of at least four hours each year in areas such as equine health, welfare and safety, as well as small business, ethical and human-resource topics.

“Creating a continuing education requirement for trainers will bring knowledge and evidence-based research to an audience that would otherwise generally not be exposed to it,” said Rob Williams, executive director of the gaming commission. “Continuing education for trainers should improve the quality of horsemanship at New York racetracks and enhance equine welfare.”

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The commission is following rules developed by the Association of Racing Commissioners International and supported by The Jockey Club. Both organizations, in comments to the commission, voiced their support for the program.

Courses are typically offered online and are free. For trainers based downstate, the Ruffian Center for Equine Sports Medicine & Critical Care - across the street from Belmont Park - makes public presentations through the year that the commission would likely acknowledge as fulfilling a continuing education requirement.

Scott Palmer, the state’s equine medical director, will conduct seminars on various topics before the start of each New York race meet.

The rule was passed despite objections made last month by the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association that the rule singled out Thoroughbred trainers. NYTHA suggested there should be continuing education requirements for other industry licensees such as owners, jockeys, and harness trainers and drivers. Williams said Tuesday that a similar rule will be contemplated for Standardbred trainers.

Trainers who do not live in New York and who start fewer than 12 horses at New York tracks can seek stewards' permission to be exempt from the continuing education program.

In other commission action:

* A proposed rule would allow racetracks in New York the option of declining to offer show wagering in all races with a minimum of four betting interests where there is a perceived heavy favorite that could lead to a minus show pool. Current rules allow tracks to not offer show wagering on races with five or fewer betting interests, except in stakes races. According to the gaming commission, the New York Racing Association claims it lost $2,037,192 in minus breakage over the last five years.

There will be a 45-day comment period before the commission takes up the rule for consideration.

* A proposed rule would allow New York tracks to publicly disclose the number of live tickets in a pick five or pick six wager at any time as opposed to waiting until after penultimate leg of the wager was run. There will be a 45-day public comment period before the commission takes up this rule for consideration.