05/06/2014 4:04PM

Preakness horses required to be at Pimlico two days before race


All horses running in the Preakness Stakes on May 17 will be required to be on the grounds of Pimlico Race Course by noon of the Thursday prior to the race and will be subjected to additional security protocols, the track announced Tuesday.

The security protocols are similar to those that have been established at other tracks holding high-profile races, including Churchill Downs, home of last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, and Belmont Park, home of the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes. Many tracks and racing commissions have put in place new protocols and procedures in the past several years in the wake of calls by some critics of the sport to beef up security to deter the illegal use of medications.

The protocols include taking blood samples from all horses entered in the Preakness on Thursday afternoon, shortly after the deadline to arrive at the track. In addition, all veterinarians treating horses entered in graded stakes at the track May 16-17 will be required to provide a list of the treatments they administer to horses after the arrival deadline, Pimlico said, with the treatments monitored by an employee of the Maryland Racing Commission. The employee will be authorized to collect any syringes used by a veterinarian for testing.

No private veterinarian will be allowed in a stall of a horse entered in the Preakness after 6:15 p.m. on Friday, 24 hours prior to the race, Pimlico said, without approval from a state veterinarian or in the case of a “documented emergency.”

Pimlico has eight stakes races scheduled for May 16, including the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and the Grade 3 Pimlico Special. Nine stakes races are scheduled for May 17, the day of the Preakness, including four graded stakes. Every runner in the six graded stakes races will be required to be stabled in the barns adjacent to the grandstand, rather than the barns on the backside of the track, Pimlico said.

Maryland is one of five states to have fully implemented new medication rules designed to align the sport’s regulations in all U.S. racing jurisdictions. The rules limit race-day medication to furosemide, the diuretic used to treat bleeding in the lungs, and they put in place threshold levels for 25 other medications that are considered therapeutic.