08/19/2013 12:37PM

Saratoga: Travers entrants face scrutiny, out-of-competition testing


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Horses entered in Saturday’s Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga will be required to be on the grounds of the track Wednesday and will be subject to additional scrutiny and security protocols, New York’s racing regulators and Saratoga’s operator, the New York Racing Association, announced Monday.

Under the measures, which also were in place for last year’s Travers, regulators will take blood and urine samples from the horses Wednesday to test the samples for drugs that are prohibited under New York’s out-of-competition testing rules. Those rules ban classes of drugs that are difficult to detect in postrace samples, including blood-doping drugs, gene-doping agents, and “any other protein and peptide-based agents,” including toxins and venoms.

The measures will require trainers to provide veterinary records for all treatments given to their horses from noon Wednesday until the day of the race. The records will be published on the website of the New York State Gaming Commission, which regulates racing in the state.

In addition, all of the horses entered in the Travers will be monitored 24 hours a day from Wednesday until the time of the race. If a horse is already stabled on the grounds, the horse will be allowed to remain in its present stall, but all feed and equipment delivered to the stall will be subject to inspection by security personnel, and all visitors to the horse’s stall must be logged in.

Also under the protocols, all Travers horses will have blood samples taken one hour before the race to assess total carbon dioxide levels in the blood. Testing of carbon dioxide in blood is used to determine whether a horse has been subjected to treatments designed to delay the onset of muscle fatigue. Purposefully manipulating the levels is illegal.

New York regulators and NYRA first cooperated on heightened security measures for the 2012 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. Since then, the 2012 Travers and the 2013 Belmont Stakes also were targeted for additional security measures, largely along the same lines as the protocols announced for this year’s Travers.

No horse has tested positive for any illegal substance as a result of the out-of-competition tests put in place for the races.