Virginia Panel Restricts Use of Shock Wave Therapy

The Virginia Racing Commission has banned the use of shock wave therapy on horses within 10 days of a race.

The therapeutic treatments, originally used to break up bone fragments, have an analgesic (pain-killing) effect on horses that can last for up to four days. Because of that, there has been suspicion in the racing industry that horses are racing when injured and can’t feel pain.

The Virginia panel made the changes March 20 in anticipation of recommendations that could be made by the Jockeys’ Guild. The vote was 3-2 to impose a 10-day ban rather than the seven-day rule in place in other states, though the commission could revisit the number of days pending information received from other jurisdictions.

Also during the meeting, John Mooney, president of the Maryland-Virginia Racing Circuit, said a new warning system comprised of neon lights at each quarter pole has been installed on the turf course at Colonial Downs, which opens for its Thoroughbred meet on June 13. The system is designed to alert jockeys and exercise riders about downed or loose horses.  

Mooney also said the racetrack has increased purses for 11 stakes by $10,000 to $50,000. The meet generally features mostly turf racing.

Colonial Downs might be getting closer to cutting the red ribbon instead of the red tape in opening a new satellite wagering center in Richmond. It would be the second satellite-wagering center in Richmond and the fifth in Virginia. 

About the Author

Nick Hahn

Nick Hahn is the Virginia correspondent for The Blood-Horse magazine.

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