In a statement shared Thursday afternoon by NYRA Press, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board announced the selection of a team of nationally respected industry experts to examine equine fatalities at Aqueduct.
The task force was formed to investigate the circumstances that caused 20 equine fatalities at the Aqueduct Racetrack’s inner track meet between December 2011 and March 18, 2012.
Last week, the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo called on The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) to name a team of investigators to review the cause or causes of the fatalities, subject to approval of the Racing and Wagering Board. The resulting New York Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety consists of four highly regarded individuals in the industry who will provide objective research and analysis: Jerry Bailey, Alan Foreman, Dr. Scott E. Palmer and Dr. Mary Scollay.
“This team of renowned experts has the knowledge, experience and objectivity to shine a light on the causes behind these tragic breakdowns,” said John D. Sabini, chairman of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. “I’m confident that their findings will help improve the safety and well-being of equine athletes racing in New York.”
Rick Violette, Jr., President of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Inc. (NYTHA), said, “We have assembled an outstanding panel of industry experts, who will conduct a fair and objective investigation to determine if there is a definitive cause for the increase in the number of catastrophic breakdowns at Aqueduct this winter. We trust they will analyze all data meticulously, and New York’s horsemen will give our whole-hearted support to this initiative. No one has a more vested interest in protecting our horses and our jockeys to the very best of everyone’s abilities than the 5,000 members of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.”
In addition to examining the physical condition of Aqueduct’s inner track, the team will review and advise on policies relating to: Public disclosures, necropsies, track conditions and pre-race examination of horses
The New York Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety will begin its work promptly and will provide a comprehensive review and report its findings and recommendations to NYRA, the Racing and Wagering Board and the public.