As the state is poised to takeover the New York Racing Association, new scrutiny is being placed on the embattled public-benefit corporation with a lengthy report on horse deaths earlier this year at Aqueduct.

The report came with a slew of recommendations for the state Racing and Wagering Board to overhaul veterinary care and oversight at NYRA and the three race tracks it operates in New York: Aqueduct, Saratoga and Belmont.

New York is committed to placing the health, safety and welfare of the equine athlete as the top priority of horseracing,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “As we bring accountability and responsible business practices to horseracing, these recommendations will be an integral part of a new and improved racing product. I have requested the Racing and Wagering Board to promptly adopt the changes identified by the Task Force to create a safety-conscious environment for racehorses. I sincerely thank the members of the Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety for their important work.”

Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office released new court documents pushing back against an effort from the Thoroughbred Retirement Association, which is being sued by the state over its treatment of horses under its care, to end the legal action.

Update: The Jockey Club has weighed in this afternoon. James Gagliano, president and chief operating officer, says in a statement that he hopes the recommendations are enacted quickly:

“The implementation of recommendations outlined in the report produced by the New York Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety will significantly enhance the safety of Thoroughbred racing.

“For the last several years, The Jockey Club has worked to promote the welfare and safety of horses and riders as well as to reform medication practices in this country. We have done this through recommendations from our Thoroughbred Safety Committee and through the creation of the Reformed Racing Medication Rules, and many of those proposals are mentioned prominently throughout the task force’s report.


Memorandum Horse