08/08/2012 4:20PM

Saratoga: Travers entrants will be subject to increased security and testing


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – All horses entered for the $1 million Travers Stakes here Aug. 25 will be subject to increased security protocols, including round-the-clock monitoring, out-of-competition testing, and public disclosure of veterinarian’s records, according to the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

Under protocols announced by the board Wednesday, Travers horses will be required to be on the grounds by Aug. 22, which is the day of entry and three days before the race. Horses will have out-of-competition blood testing taken Aug. 22.

Travers horses will stay in their current barns/stalls, which will be monitored 24 hours a day by additional security personnel. Thus, a security barn like the one that was in place for the Belmont Stakes will not be utilized.

Finally, a full daily veterinarian’s record of all medications and treatments given to horses from noon Aug. 22 until Travers Day will be provided to the Racing and Wagering Board and be posted on the board’s website.

“The Travers Stakes is the highest-profile race of the world-class Saratoga meet and will be conducted with integrity and high standards for equine safety,” Racing and Wagering Board chairman John Sabini said in a press release. “These protocols, which will help ensure that horses are kept safe and secure prior to the race, were put in place in consultation with equine safety experts, prominent trainers, and track management.”

Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer of Jim Dandy winner and possible Travers favorite Alpha, said he’s fine with the protocols. And though his horse is technically stabled off the grounds at the Godolphin training center, adjacent to Saratoga, it is not expected that Alpha will have to move to McLaughlin’s barn that is on the grounds.

“I signed a release before the meet started to allow them to come back and take out-of-competition testing,” McLaughlin said. “I don’t think he should have to move. They do everything as though we’re on the track.

“I don’t want to move, I would prefer not to move,” McLaughlin added. “He worries a little bit, but he’s as happy as he can be right now.”

As of Wednesday, other horses pointing to the Travers were Neck ’n Neck, Nonios, Street Life, Liaison, Five Sixteen, and possibly Hansen and Easter Gift.