07/20/2012 4:35PM

Saratoga: New security rules to be implemented for certain races


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Though the logistics have not yet been finalized, there will increased security protocols put in place for select races at Saratoga, the chairman of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board said Friday.

“I’ve met with trainers throughout the last month and owners, plus security, and NYRA, and we’ll be coming out with something soon,” Chairman John Sabini said Friday before the opening race at Saratoga. “We want to make it user-friendly, yet meaningful; that’s the goal.”

It is not clear whether the protocols put in place will be a detention barn – similar to what was set up prior to the Belmont Stakes – or simply round-the-clock security at the barns.

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“We want to have this so that the public will see as much integrity as we can figure out will fly here,” Sabini said. “That’s the goal of a regulator always.”

The state employed a detention barn at the Belmont Stakes, forcing all the horses in that race to be housed in one barn beginning 72 hours before the race. It was highly criticized by many horsemen, most notably Dale Romans, who sent out the Belmont favorite Dullahan.

On Friday, Romans said he has no problem with added security, but was against the set-up of a detention barn.

“I have no problem with added security but I highly recommend that they just put extra security on each horse,” Romans said. “Let the horses stay in their stalls.”

Romans said he did not think the detention barn worked at Belmont. There were 11 horses placed in an 18-stall barn. Most of the horses went to train at the same time, making for congestion in the shed row and outside the barn.

“I don’t think it worked at all at Belmont, there were too many horses in too small a space trying to do the same thing at the same time,” Romans said. “Horses know where they live, they’re not settled when they’re not in their place and you can make it a lot more horse-friendly and just as secure.

“They made a mistake at Belmont,” Romans added. “Hopefully, they learned something from it.”

Frank McCarthy More than 1 year ago
At the Belmont, NYRA's heart was in the right place but their head was elsewhere. Mr. Romans is on taget. Added security is the right idea, not rent a cops, but actual people involved in racing and with knowledge of daily operations. Maybe a litle step up from some current "racing stewards" employed at various racetracks. Firm and consistant rules should be the point.
W.G. More than 1 year ago
This to me has everything to do with the 1,719 violations (from 675 races) against Harness trainer Lou Pena that came out on May 24 after his being thoroughly investigated by New York with help from New Jersey. The board realized in my opinion they had to do something for The Belmont Stakes regardless of whether or not Doug o'Neill (widely considered responsible for the barn) was going to have I'll Have Another in that race. O'Neill in my view was a convenient reason for the barn for the Belmont, and to me that is more true now because of what has been planned for Saratoga, not wanting any potential backlash from not having one for major thoroughbred races thanks to the violations that have come out against Lou Pena, at least in my opinion.