HISA-Led Examination Of Track Surfaces At Saratoga To Be Completed Before Aug. 30 - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

HISA-Led Examination Of Track Surfaces At Saratoga To Be Completed Before Aug. 30

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority released the following statement Aug. 29, in the wake of several high-profile breakdowns at Saratoga Race Course this summer:

Today HISA is introducing two additional safety precautions that will be in place for the remainder of summer meet at Saratoga Race Course.

  1. HISA rule 2142(a)* requires all horses running under HISA's jurisdiction to undergo post-entry screening. This review occurs 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.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.
  2. 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 on August 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 NYRA and the New York State Gaming Commission to thoroughly review the circumstances surrounding recent equine fatalities at Saratoga to inform additional interventions moving forward.

*HISA RULE 2142(a): 

The regulatory veterinarian shall perform post-entry screenings of previous pre-race inspection findings of entered horses to identify horses that may be at increased risk for injury. The regulatory veterinarian shall review past performances, lay-ups (more than 60 days without a timed workout or race), last 30 days medical history, previous injury and lameness diagnostics, intraarticular corticosteroid injections, previous surgery, and individual horse risk factors.

The New York Racing Association released the following statement on the HISA changes: 

“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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