10/31/2008 12:00AM

NYRA increases rider aid

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The New York Racing Association has put in place two new initiatives to provide better assistance for jockeys injured at the track.

First, NYRA has incorporated the Jockey Health Information System, a secure online database that stores updated medical histories and makes it possible for emergency medical technicians on track to instantly access that information in the event of injury. This program was first launched at the Keeneland fall meet.

In addition, NYRA has instituted a Jockey Medical Advocate Program, designed to assist jockeys taken to area hospitals after a spill. Under the program, a registered nurse will be on call during all NYRA races. In the case of injury, the nurse will meet the injured rider at the hospital to ensure that he or she is cared for and will assist the rider and family members with medical and administrative matters.

In recent years, jockeys have complained of waiting for long periods of time to be examined at area hospitals after a spill.

In a separate NYRA development, the association has hired Kimberly Justus for its new post of director of guest services. Justus, who formerly worked for the Breeders' Cup and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, will be responsible for all customer service functions at NYRA.