NYRA Seeks Partnership With Cornell That Would Enhance Equine Safety

Cornell University campus | Bruce Yuanyue Bi/Getty Images

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The annual state budget proposed by the New York State Assembly includes an initiative that would establish a new partnership between Cornell University and the New York Racing Association, Inc (NYRA) to enhance equine safety through the use of advanced imaging technology.

The budget calls for NYRA to make an initial investment of $2 million to purchase the necessary equipment. The ongoing project will be funded by assessing the most successful out-of-state ADW platforms.

The racing, pari-mutuel wagering and breeding law will be amended by adding a new section 902-a to read as follows: “Equine screening and advanced imaging expenses. 1. In order to assure the public's confidence and continue the high degree of integrity in racing at the pari-mutuel betting tracks, clinical services related to screening and advanced imaging shall be conducted by a land grant university within this state at a location proximate to a race- track owned by the state.”

The machinery will be located at the Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists adjacent to Belmont Park. According to NYRA, the cost to horsemen to use the imaging equipment will “be reasonable to encourage use.”

Budget negotiations will take place between the NYS Assembly, Senate and Governor's Office in the coming weeks.

“This investment would dramatically expand the availability of highly-advanced imaging technology used to identify pre-existing conditions before they result in serious equine injuries,” said NYRA spokesperson Pat McKenna. “In addition to diagnosing the types of issues that may have gone unnoticed in the past, the partnership between NYRA and Cornell University will ensure the technology is located just outside the gates of Belmont Park and available to trainers and owners at a reasonable cost. In addition, the partnership will generate important academic research around the biomechanics and veterinary treatment of thoroughbreds in training. NYRA has embraced a wide variety of equine safety enhancements rooted in science and technology, and we strongly support this initiative.”

The agreement with Cornell is the latest step taken by NYRA to improve horse safety. Over the past year, NYRA has partnered with Arioneo Equine Technology to monitor heart rate and movement patterns of horses during more than 3,000 timed workouts; opened a research study on electrocardiograms with equine cardiologists and data science experts at Cornell and Carnegie Mellon University; incorporated Sleip, an AI-based equine gait diagnostic tool, into NYRA's daily regulatory veterinary exams; continuously monitored and tested various emerging applications and technologies and instituted an additional level of veterinary scrutiny for all horses seeking to compete at the NYRA venues.

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