New York's State Horse Vet to Focus on Race Horse Deaths and Injuries


Under the auspices of the New York State Gaming Commission, Scott Palmer, V.M.D., is leading a seminar covering race horse injuries and research into understanding and reducing racing injuries, Tuesday, August 22 on the grounds of the New York Racing Association’s (N.Y.R.A.) Saratoga Race Course.

As New York State Equine Medical Director, Palmer is at the forefront of horse racing safety for the entire state. Since July 21, the internationally prestigious Saratoga Race Meet has had 14 deaths and four injuries directly attributable to racing and training Thoroughbreds participating in the meet. The racing community, fans, handicappers, local media and the public have all expressed concern over the catastrophic breakdowns. People protesting the horses’ deaths have gathered outside NYRA’s front gates throughout the meet and are expected to have a strong presence on Travers Day, August 26.

The Trainer Continuing Education Seminar runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the At the Rail Pavilion at Saratoga Race Course. It is open to licensed trainers, yet closed to the public. The venue selected for the seminar is on NYRA property that is closed to the public on Tuesdays. A similar continuing education event “Knowing When to Retire Your Racehorse”, hosted last Friday by the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and presented by veterinarian Patty Hogan, V.M.D. at the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion, was open to trainers, owners, media and the public.

The Gaming Commission’s seminar will not be live-streamed, but a full recording is expected on the Commission’s website. According to the Gaming Commission’s Director of Communications Lee Park, “Since there is obvious and justified interest in the topics to be discussed tomorrow, we have made efforts to professionally film the entire presentation and make it available to the general public and the media as soon as possible after the event.”

The final session of Tuesday’s seminar is “Challenges Specific to the Saratoga Meet”, presented by Dr. Palmer, sounds like it may address the deaths. Other sessions cover Findings of the “New York State Thoroughbred Post-Mortem Examination Program”, “Risk and Protective Factors – How Can We Use Them to Prevent Injury?” and “Fetlock CT To Assess Proximal Sesamoid Bone Fracture Risk”.

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