New York Judge Rejects Certain Drug Testing Rules

An acting New York State Supreme Court judge has ruled the New York State Racing and Wagering Board (NYSRWB) regulations on out-of-competition testing "require nullification in their entirety."

The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed three years ago by the Standardbred Owners Association of New York (SOANY) and the Empire State Harness Horsemen's Alliance. Justice Mark Powers issued a decision in the case Aug. 15.

The SOANY in a release noted the court recognized the racing industry understands the importance of equine drug testing but also questioned the NYSRWB regulations. The Supreme Court also found horsemen's concerns weren't addressed when the regulations were adopted.

"The court began its analysis by recognizing that all parties, including the state's horsemen, 'concur that drug testing is essential to the harness horse racing industry, the betting public's confidence and the health of racehorses,' " SOANY said in a press release issued Aug. 19. "The court then went on to fully agree with the horsemen that the Racing Board's unilaterally adopted out-of-competition testing regulations were illegal, conceived in excess of the Board's jurisdiction, arbitrary, capricious, overbroad, unconstitutionally vague and overly intrusive."

In January 2010 the NYSRWB announced it had adopted new regulations for out-of-competition testing for Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds. The changes permitted testing of horses located on the grounds of New York racetracks as well those located off site within 100 miles of a New York racetrack.

Out-of-competition testing is used primarily to detect blood-doping agents in racehorses of all breeds.

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