The Daily Gazette
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NYRA will create independent medical director

The New York Racing Association is moving ahead with plans to create an independent veterinary structure that will be led by a new medical director.

An equine medical director position is immediately being created in the NYRA, according to a news release. The position is created in response to a task force investigation into deaths at the Aqueduct Race Track last year.

“NYRA is taking immediate steps to try to prevent more catastrophic injuries from occurring,” said NYRA Board of Directors Chair David Skorton in a statement.

“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 and direct investigations into these unfortunate events," he said. "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 NYRA's board meeting next week, they will consider reducing the number of racing days during the week at the inner-track at Aqueduct, increasing pre-race security measures to ensure race integrity and installing a synthetic surface at the inner track for the 2013-2014 winter season at Aqueduct.

“The NYRA board will have serious discussions next week to consider all these important issues that affect the health and safety of our jockeys and horses,” said Skorton.

New drug policies have already been implemented by the state as part of the response to the task force.

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