HISA Increases Safety Interventions at Saratoga

Saratoga | Sarah Andrew

The Horseracing and Safety Integrity Authority has added two new safety precautions to be in place for the remainder of the Saratoga Race Course meet.

HISA rule 2142(a) requires all horses running under the authority's jurisdiction to undergo post-entry screening between the time the entry is taken and the time the regulatory veterinarians perform their in-person physical inspections on race day. This function is generally carried out by local regulatory veterinarians, but going forward through the remainder of Saratoga's summer meet, a HISA veterinarian will perform these post-entry screenings to provide an additional layer of independent analysis to identify any horses that may be at increased risk of injury before a race.

Members of HISA's newly formed Track Surface Advisory Group are now on-site at Saratoga to thoroughly review both the dirt and turf surfaces before live racing is scheduled to resume Aug. 30. The Track Surface Advisory Group is comprised of seven experts in a broad range of factors that contribute to dirt, turf and synthetic surface consistency. In addition to on-site inspections, the Advisory Group will examine historic and pre-meet inspection data compiled by the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory.

These steps are being taken to mitigate additional risk of equine injury in the short term as HISA continues to work with the New York Racing Association and the New York State Gaming Commission to thoroughly review the circumstances surrounding recent equine fatalities at Saratoga to inform additional interventions moving forward, the authority said in a Tuesday afternoon press release.

“The health and safety of horses and jockeys competing at NYRA tracks is our highest priority and one that stands above all other considerations,” said Pat McKenna, NYRA VP of Communications.

“NYRA is strongly supportive of the work HISA is doing here in New York State and throughout the country to enhance safety and protect the integrity of the sport. NYRA welcomes additional veterinary scrutiny of horses at Saratoga Race Course and we are working closely with HISA's Track Surface Advisory Group to ensure we are providing the safest possible environment for racing and training at Saratoga.”

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