Ruidoso Downs Unveils Integrity and Safety Program

Working in conjunction with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), Ruidoso Downs Race Track, in New Mexico, is implementing a new program that chairman R.D. Hubbard said is part "our on-going effort to ensure the integrity and safety of the sport and its participants."

"We are announcing today," Hubbard said in a release, "the first of several steps that will ensure that those who participate in the major futurities and derbies at Ruidoso will be able to compete on a level playing field through added efforts to deter and potentially catch anyone who would attempt to drug a horse, thus ensuring the welfare of the horses and jockeys and eliminating unfair advantages for all participants. We simply will not tolerate such illegal behavior."

The track said the first phase of the program involves new track rules that will be put in place prior to the 2015 Ruidoso Downs' Quarter Horse racing season. All of the rules will be clearly identified to all owners and trainers through the stall applications and condition books. In addition, the current nomination blanks require all owners abide by all rules of the New Mexico Racing Commission and the track. The new rules include:

  • All horses must be on the grounds in the Ruidoso barn area 10 days before running in the trials of each of the Ruidoso Triple Crown futurities and derbys run during the Ruidoso race season.
  • All horses that qualify for the finals of one of the futurities or derbies will be required to stay on the grounds through the running of the finals.
  • All horses will be subject to a "roll call" at any time during these periods. These "spot checks" will be conducted by (but not limited to) the horse identifier and track security.
  • The track will install new surveillance cameras at the stable gate(s), test barn along with barns and stalls of the 20 qualifiers to the futurities and derbies.
  • The new rules will require that any horse not in compliance will be scratched from the trials and/or finals.

"These new rules will ensure that horses getting ready to participate in the trials or finals of our major ultra-rich races will remain under the direct supervision of both the race track and the New Mexico Racing Commission security and surveillance," Hubbard added. "Studies have found that many of those instances of medicating horses have been done while the horse is stabled off track. This will help overcome that problem."

Ruidoso also said it is working with the New Mexico Racing Commission and the AQHA on additional steps that will be announced soon on enhanced testing and search procedures that will further ensure racing's integrity.

Originally published on BloodHorse.com.

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