Enhanced Security Protocols for 2017 Belmont Stakes Entries

Enhanced Security Protocols for 2017 Belmont Stakes Entries

Horses running in the Belmont Stakes are subject to continuous 72-hour dedicated watch by experienced security personnel leading to post-time.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

In addition to the standing security protocols for horses racing in Grade I races with purses of $1 million or more, the New York State Equine Medical Director and the stewards will be made available to the media to address any incidents that might occur during races on June 10, Belmont Stakes Day.

New York State Equine Medical Director Scott E. Palmer, VMD, Dipl. ABVP, will be available to speak to the media in the event of any on-track incidents during any of the races on June 10. Should an on-track incident occur involving a racehorse, Palmer will be available soon after any incident for media briefing in his office, located immediately adjacent to the press elevator in the basement of the grandstand.

At the conclusion of the day’s races, Palmer and the stewards will be available in the Belmont Film Theater (after the post-Belmont Stakes winner’s connections press conference) to address questions from the media regarding incidents, inquiries, objections, or rulings that occur during any of the day’s races. New York Thoroughbred races are observed by three stewards: one employed by the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC), one employed by the New York Racing Association (NYRA), and one employed by The Jockey Club.

Additionally, horses running in the Belmont Stakes are subject to continuous 72-hour “dedicated watch” by experienced security personnel leading to post-time. During a “dedicated watch,” one guard is stationed full-time for every horse programmed.

Horses running in the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Stakes and the Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap, also taking place June 10, are subject to “intensified watch” by a team of six to eight experienced security personnel conducting mobile surveillance and direct horse checks at least three times per shift from 72 to 30 hours prior to their race, with a continuous “dedicated watch” taking place for the final 30 hours before post-time.

All guards employed for these protocols are experienced NYRA security personnel and investigators who receive ongoing education from the Organization of Racing Investigators and the Racing Officials Accreditation Program.

For all entries in the aforementioned races:

  • Horses must be on the grounds no later than 72 hours prior to their anticipated post time. Exceptions are at the discretion of the stewards.
  • The NYSGC has taken out-of-competition blood samples of horses competing in these races and sent them to New York State Equine Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College for immediate testing. The NYSGC has coordinated with other jurisdictions to obtain out-of-competition samples from horses not usually stabled in New York.
  • Horses must remain on NYRA facility grounds until after the running of the specified race. Exceptions will be granted only in the case of an unforeseeable emergency, as determined by the dedicated watch security personnel in consultation with the stewards. 
  • Horses shall reside in their trainers' current barns and/or at stalls on the grounds, which shall be monitored at all times by additional security personnel.
  • Commission personnel will monitor all treatments of participating horses performed by veterinarians prior to the scheduled post times of the respective races. No veterinarians will treat horses without first making an appointment with NYSGC investigators. The NYSGC will retain all containers for medications administered for possible testing.
  • A full daily veterinarian’s record of all medications and treatments given to horses 72 hours prior to the race will be provided to the NYSGC. Any changes to treatment must be disclosed to the NYSGC. If medications and treatment records are not provided to the NYSGC in a timely manner and prior to treatment, veterinarians will not be permitted to treat the horse until this issue is resolved. The NYSGC will post these records on its website on Wednesday, June 7; Thursday, June 8; and Friday, June 9.
  • Stall entry/exit logs will be maintained by security personnel. Each person, including grooms, veterinarians, trainers, assistant trainers, farriers, owners, or other connections must have a valid NYSGC license or NYRA badge on his/her person before entering a stall, engaging in contact with a horse, or performing any service for a horse. Each visit will be logged in by security along with the reason for such visit. Routine stall and horse maintenance by identified grooms and staff will be monitored but are exempt from logging.
  • All equipment, feed, hay bales, etc., are subject to search and seizure, as provided by law, by both NYRA and the NYSGC.
  • As is current policy, furosemide (also known as Salix or Lasix) administration will take place in the horses' own stalls by a NYRA veterinarian. The NYSGC will retain syringes for possible testing.
  • On race day, no treatments will be permitted (other than furosemide for specifically designated horses) unless it is for an emergency or as approved by the stewards.
  • All horses participating in the applicable race must report to the Assembly Barn no less than 45 minutes before the designated post time. Each trainer is responsible for knowing the designated post time. Blood sampling for TCO2 testing will take place in the Assembly Barn before horses are escorted to the paddock. A fine or a scratch could be issued by the NYRA Steward if horses are late to the Assembly Barn.
  • Participants in these races receive priority for paddock schooling with security personnel present.
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