07/09/2010 11:00PM

NYRA horsemen want security barn eliminated


ELMONT, N.Y. - Horsemen anger over the security barns at New York Racing Association tracks has reached a point where a possible boycott of entries during the final days of Belmont Park meet is a possibility.

"There has been some discussion of that," said Rick Violette, president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. "But that is putting the cart before the horse. That is certainly the last thing that horsemen want to do."

Violette said there have been ongoing discussions with NYRA about eliminating the security barns and the requirement that horses be placed in a monitored area six hours before post time. Charles Hayward, NYRA's president and chief executive officer, declined comment.

The security barn poses an added expense to trainers and disrupts barn operation. It also costs cash-strapped NYRA about $1.2 million a year.

"At one point in time, it might have been justified," Violette said of the program that has been in effect for five years. "Now it's time to look at building a better mousetrap. We certainly don't want to take a step backward with respect to integrity."

Violette points to sophisticated state-of-the-art drug testing and random out-of-competition testing that can be employed to crack down on drug cheating.

Violette called an entry box boycott a "last resort. "Hopefully, we will all be able to look at this and a take a step forward."