The New York Racing Association (NYRA) has established the position of Equine Veterinary Medical Director. The announcement was made Thursday by NYRA chair David Skorton and Anthony Bonomo, chair of NYRA's Equine Health and Safety Committee.
The Equine Veterinary Medical Director will create the Mortality Review Board and work to "improve the health and safety of horses competing at NYRA racetracks."
"Addressing the problem of breakdowns at NYRA is our first priority. We will do everything to protect the jockeys and the horses," added Bonomo.
Since Aqueduct began racing on its inner track on Dec. 12, four horses were injured and euthanized. The NYRA has begun to transport all euthanized horses to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell for complete necropsies.
"NYRA is taking immediate steps to try to prevent more catastrophic injuries from occurring. We are establishing a new position, Equine Veterinary Medical Director, to be in charge of the health and safety of horses at all NYRA tracks," said Skorton, "and direct investigations into these unfortunate events. In addition to these immediate actions, we will soon be making decisions on several specific operational issues in the interest of equine health and safety."
At its next meeting on Jan. 25, the NYRA Board will consider the following changes to NYRA policies and operations: Reduce the number of racing days in a week during the inner-track season at Aqueduct; Limit the number of races on a given day during the inner-track season; Bolster overall security measures related to pre-race security and racing integrity; Install a synthetic surface for the inner track at Aqueduct for 2013-14 Winter season and curtail racing on the inner track at Aqueduct.