01/13/2014 11:40AM

Palmer named equine medical director for New York Gaming Commission


Dr. Scott Palmer, a past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the head of a task force that examined a spate of equine deaths at Aqueduct racetrack in 2012, was named Monday as the first equine medical director for the New York Gaming Commission.

Palmer, who has been exclusively involved in equine medicine since graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1976, will oversee “all aspects of equine health, safety, and welfare at New York racetracks,” including the state’s drug-testing laboratory and its regulatory veterinarians, according to a press release from the New York Gaming Commission, which regulates racing in the state. He also will “advise the commission on equine medication policies as well as the safety of racetrack facilities and surfaces.”

Palmer will fill a position that was created as a result of a recommendation in the report he co-authored examining the Aqueduct deaths. In the past decade, several states, most notably California and Kentucky, have created the position of equine medical director as equine safety issues have become more and more critical to the health and the public perception of the racing industry.

As part of the position, Palmer also will serve as an adjunct professor at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and will be required to coordinate research and studies on equine health issues with staff in the college, the release said.

“I am honored to join the commission and to help bolster New York’s ongoing commitment to equine health and safety,” Palmer said in a gambling commission release. “Having a sole veterinary point of contact overseeing all New York race horses and having access to Cornell’s array of smart resources is simply smart policy. I am eager to get to work, and I look forward to working with our partners to create as safe an environment as possible for our horses.”