In addition to the news about the GI Belmont S. and stakes schedule at the upcoming Belmont meet, the New York Racing Association announced new safety initiatives and entry rule changes for the 25-day meet.
Among them are new rules for horses coming off of long layoffs and horses making belated career debuts. Horses which have not started in more than 180 days, but fewer than 365 days, will be placed on the Veterinarians' List and must be presented to the NYRA Veterinarian prior to racing, while horses which have not raced in 365 days or longer will automatically be added to the Veterinarians' List and must satisfy the same requirements for removal from the Veterinarians' List as horses designated as “unsound.” If a start has not been made within 60 days of the NYRA Veterinarians' clearance, then the horse will be placed back on the Veterinarians' list. The same restrictions and placement will apply to horses making their first start Feb. 1 or later of their 4-year-old year.
NYRA also announced a new option for owners/trainers in claiming race to opt to declare a horse exempt from being claimed. In order to do so, the horse must meet the following requirements:
- The horse has not started since Mar. 16, 2020.
- The horse is entered for a claiming price equal to or greater than the price it last started for (horse must have started in a claiming race in the previous start to qualify).
- Failure to declare the horse exempt at the time of entry may not be remedied.
- The waiver rule can only be applied to said horse's first start following each such layoff.
Finally, NYRA is instating a new rule when it comes to trainers with multiple horses in the same race. In all overnight races, no same trainer entry will be allowed to draw into the body of a race to the exclusion of a different trainer entrant. At time of entry, trainers must designate a “different owner first choice (DO1)” and a “different owner second choice (DO2).” Stakes races are excluded from this rule. A different owner second entry (DO2) is preferred over a same owner second entry (SO2).