For NYRA Safety and Integrity Team, Horse Welfare is Top Priority


Jean Claude Jaramillo | NYRA

Edited Press Release

Jean Claude Jaramillo says his favorite memories working at the New York Racing Association, Inc. are easy choices: being a part of the security horse detail of the last two Triple Crown winners: Justify in 2018 and American Pharoah in 2015.

But it’s not the highlight. “That I get to be a part of this team is what I’m proudest of here,” says Jaramillo, an equine investigator specialist on NYRA’s four-person Safety & Integrity team and the new chair of the global Organization of Racing Investigators (ORI).
“Working back here, you realize that we’re all in the same boat in working for the welfare of the horses,” he says.
“Here” are the vast backstretches of Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetracks where Jaramillo and other NYRA team members–Safety Stewards Hugh Gallagher, Juan Dominguez and Tim Kelly–dedicate themselves to enhancing existing safety protocols. 
On this frosty winter morning, Jaramillo conducted barn inspections–checking that the horses have adequate bedding, water and feed inside their stalls. He also inspects the equine medications and even the prescription labels and expiration dates. From there, he makes stops at the training track and the clockers stand, where trainers and anyone on the backstretch can go to him with an issue–anything, big or small.
Welcome to the NYRA Safety and Integrity team’s “boots-on-the-ground” strategy in seeing to the welfare of horses. Ranging from monitoring and observing daily backside activities to following up on leads that may involve the inappropriate or illegal use of medications and ensuring that the training rules are followed, the team makes recommendations to NYRA, New York State and Jockey Club Stewards to ensure the integrity of racing and compliance with horse racing laws and regulations.
“Horsemen know we’re a constant presence on the backstretch, at the training track for morning workouts and in the barn areas,” said Gallagher. “They also know that they can come to us at any time and for anything from a significant safety issue or concern to a burned-out light bulb. It’s to everyone’s advantage to make safety the absolute top priority.”

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