01/23/2017 2:49PM

N.Y. proposal would require reports on bleeding episodes


The New York Gaming Commission on Monday approved proposed rules that would require trainers to file reports on horses suffering “serious” bleeding episodes and to maintain detailed medication logs for their horses.

The two proposals were among five new proposed regulations approved by the commission Monday. The rules will all be posted for a 45-day public-comment period before the commission considers the regulations for final approval.

The rule regarding bleeding episodes will require trainers to report to the commission any instance in which a horse bleeds visibly from the nose, or epistaxis, the scientific term for the discharge of blood from the nostrils. Although many racehorses bleed to some degree during a race, including trace levels of blood in the lungs, epistaxis as a result of pulmonary bleeding is uncommon. However, the presence of visible blood indicates a degree of hemorrhage that many veterinarians consider extremely detrimental to a horse’s longterm health, due to the possibility that the bleeding will lead to the formation of pulmonary scar tissue.

The new rule would also ban a horse from racing for 15 days after a “serious” bleeding episode, with longer bans following subsequent episodes during the horse’s lifetime. According to the rule, after four serious bleeding episodes in one year, a horse would be banned from racing for its lifetime.

Robert Williams, the executive director of the commission, said the commission will establish a system to allow trainers to file the reports. Trainers would be able to delegate the reporting requirement to a veterinarian, Williams said.

The proposed rule requiring detailed medication logs would mandate that trainers maintain records of all medications given to a horse in the past six months. A similar rule is being formulated by national racing groups that are seeking to have the rule adopted in all U.S. racing jurisdictions. Rick Goodell, the counsel to the gaming commission, noted that the New York proposal could be modified if the language approved by the national groups differs markedly from the New York rule. The commission unanimously approved the proposal.

The commission also approved two proposals that will align New York’s regulations with the recommendations of the national racing groups. One would modify the state’s multiple-medication violation penalty schedule, the other would delineate the rights of commission personnel and horsemen during the collection of out-of-competition testing samples.

In addition, the commission approved a proposal that would require trainers to obtain the recommendation of a veterinarian when administering any unregulated medication or drug to a horse.

That proposed rule was formulated after the commission issued a report late in 2015 that was critical of a practice in which horses trained by Steve Asmussen were regularly administered the drug thyrozine, a medication to treat thyroid disorders, without a prescription or specific veterinary recommendation for each horse. Asmussen was fined $10,000 as a result of the report, which was produced after the animal-rights organization PETA accused the trainer of mistreatment of his horses. The commission dismissed nearly all of PETA’s accusations.

Also at the meeting, the commission adopted a rule that will allow riders to wear their own names or the names of trade associations on their breeches or on their helmets. Riders will continue to need the permission of owners before attaching the names of sponsors to their clothing.

Finally, the commission approved a hearing officer’s recommendation that the license of former jockey agent Mike Gonzalez be revoked for a minimum of 10 years, along with a $10,000 fine. Gonzalez was charged last year with bribing a New York Racing Association racing official to gain access to non-public information in the racing office.