Racing authorities in New Mexico are to meet to consider adopting tougher standards around the sport.
The move follows a lengthy report in The New York Times late last month, entitled “Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockeys” that explored the circumstances around the horse toll within the racing industry. The report was especially critical of racing in New Mexico.
The state was condemned for its poor horse safety record and was criticised for lax regulation.
New Mexico industry officials criticised the report, but acknowledged there were problems that needed to be addressed.
The New Mexico Racing Commission plans to meet soon to consider a proposal to adopt regulations developed by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI).
It is also possible the drug testing program for horses may be stepped up.
“It’s important that we have consistent standards for our racing venues that are not only enforced statewide, but also meet the same strict criteria that other states have adopted,” commission chairman Rob Doughty said.
The commission has set a public hearing for May 2 on adopting the penalties set out by the ARCI.
“The commission will use the public hearing, as well as other public feedback we have received, to determine the best way to move forward with adoption of these rules,” he said.
The proposed rules set standards around the conduct of races, veterinary care, and drug testing. It is possible the rules ultimately decided upon will be a mix of the association’s rules and the parts of New Mexico’s regulations deemed to be performing well.
It is possible, following the hearing, that the new rules could be introduced at the commission’s June 21 meeting.