02/24/2015 11:20AM

NYRA rescinds 14-day entry rule


Effective with the entries for March 5, the New York Racing Association will rescind a rule that prohibited horses from running back in 14 days or less from their previous start, it was announced Tuesday.

The rule was one of four enacted last month in the wake of 14 equine fatalities during the first 27 days of the inner track meet, which began on Dec. 3. Four of the 14 horses who died ran back in 11 days or less from their previous start. There has not been a fatality since Jan. 22, a period of 14 racing days.

“Aqueduct operates under some unique circumstances, and equine welfare will always be the top of our concerns,” Martin Panza, NYRA’s senior vice-president of racing operations, said in a press release. “This rule served a purpose through a difficult period of time. We appreciate the understanding and support of our horsemen.”

Three other measures that NYRA put in place starting Jan. 22 will remain in effect for the time being. One is a reduction to eight races from nine during weekdays. This rule remains in place despite the fact there have been 13 full-card cancellations this winter, eight since Jan. 28. Second, the bottom maiden-claiming level has been raised from $12,500 to $16,000. Third, horses defeated by a minimum of 25 lengths are put on a “poor performance” list and must complete a half-mile workout in 53 seconds or faster to be permitted to enter in a future race.

At a meeting of the New York State Gaming Commission on Monday, Robert Williams, the organization’s executive director, said the commission’s “investigative review into the circumstances surrounding each fatality continues.”

Beginning with Thursday’s program, there are 19 scheduled cards remaining for the inner-track season before racing moves to the main track on April 1.