NYSGC Proposes New Regulations in Wake of PETA Claims

Also, the NYGSC fined trainer Steve Asmussen $10,000 for administering thyroxine within 48 hours of racing.

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The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) announced Nov. 23 that it will pursue sweeping equine drug medication regulations in the wake of its investigation into allegations advanced by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in regard to the practices of Thoroughbred trainer Steven M. Asmussen, his assistant Scott A. Blasi, and others during the 2013 Saratoga Race Course Meet.

The draft regulations, which are being released for industry comment in advance of rulemaking, will add another initiative to its arsenal of rules and practices to ensure humane care for horses and integrity in racing. Primarily, the rules mandate that:

  • No drug may be given to a horse except as an actual medical therapy.
  • All metabolism-modifying drugs will be tightly controlled.
  • Veterinarians may renew prescriptions based on only their medical judgment.
  • The unnecessary use of any substance that abnormally affects a horse will be prohibited.
  • Trainers must keep a log of all dispensed medicines administered by the stable.

The draft rules also include strong protections and increased scrutiny for horses experiencing exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH).

“While the troubling allegations of the PETA investigation were largely unfounded, our extensive review and other considerations have prompted the commission to put forth substantial changes to further combat the entrenched drug culture in horse racing,” said NYSGC Executive Director Robert Williams. “We recognize PETA for playing a role in bringing about changes necessary to make Thoroughbred racing safer and fairer for all

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