08/14/2008 11:00PM

Round two for safety panel


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - A committee set up by The Jockey Club to study health and safety issues for racehorses is expected to make its second round of recommendations here on Sunday at The Jockey Club's annual Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing.

The committee has been meeting regularly since its formation in May following the breakdown of the filly Eight Belles shortly after she finished second in the Kentucky Derby. In July, the committee released three recommendations, including the adoption of rules regulating the administration of anabolic steroids and a ban on toe-grab horseshoes, and those recommendations have already been embraced by a number of racing organizations and racetracks.

Jockey Club officials have declined to comment about the recommendations that are expected to be released on Sunday. Stuart Janney III, the chairman of the committee, is scheduled to speak at the conference, along with committee member Dr. Larry Bramlage, a partner in Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital outside Lexington, Ky.

Other speakers include Dr. Rick Arthur, the equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board who has been heavily involved in crafting steroid regulations; Bill Casner, the president and co-owner of WinStar Farm, who is a member of a committee studying shoeing; Alan Foreman, the chairman of the National Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, who is expected to discuss funding for drug-testing laboratories; and Dr. Mary Scollay, the equine medical director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, who is overseeing the development of a national database on racing injuries.

The Jockey Club committee's initial recommendations did not break any new ground - a dozen states have already adopted anabolic-steroid regulations and a dozen more are in the process - but The Jockey Club's endorsement of the rules contributed to the momentum behind enactment of both steroid regulations and the ban on toe grabs.

Last week, the American Graded Stakes Committee changed its eligibility rules to require that states regulate anabolic steroids and ban toe grabs in order for races to be eligible for grades. Five states have adopted bans on toe grabs, and on Thursday, the New York Racing Association adopted a house rule, effective Oct. 29, to ban the shoes.

Also following the committee's release of its recommendations, the Breeders' Cup adopted rules that will prohibit tracks from receiving purse supplements unless steroids are regulated in their states or by house rules, effective next year.