07/24/2014 12:24PM

Security protocols put in place for Travers, Whitney


Horses entered in the Aug. 2 Whitney Stakes and Aug. 23 Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in New York will be subject to the “enhanced security protocols” that the New York Racing Association and New York Gaming Commission have put in place for a number of Grade 1 races over the past several years, the organizations announced Thursday.

The additional security protocols require horses entered in the races to be on the racetrack grounds by noon of the Wednesday before the race. In the 72 hours prior to the races, the horses are then subject to 24-hour monitoring by security personnel, with all treatments of the horses recorded, monitored, and submitted to the gambling commission, which will make the records available on its website.

In addition, the horses entered in the races will be targeted for out-of-competition testing in the weeks leading up to the race, even if they are not in New York. Out-of-competition testing is designed to detect long-lasting drugs that are allegedly used in training to boost performance, such as blood-doping drugs.

The protocols also require horses to be in an “assembly” area between one hour and 45 minutes prior to the race for pre-race testing. For the Belmont Stakes this year, which had the same security protocols in place, trainer Mike Maker was late in bringing a Belmont entrant, General a Rod, to the assembly area, but the horse was allowed to run. Maker, who said the horse was late due to the instructions of Belmont security personnel, was subsequently fined $2,500.

Lee Park, a spokesman for the New York gambling commission, said that violations of the security protocols would continue to be handled initially by stewards, rather than requiring an immediate scratch.

“It depends on the circumstances,” Park said. “In [the Maker] case, the stewards determined what the action would be. It’s like any other situation, in which you have to investigate to determine what the facts are.”