"They are just trying to prove to the public how awesome these animals are and how well they are taken care of. It's kind of giving people a backstage, all-access pass and that's great for the sport. It just looks like it's something they should of come up with and had figured out a week ago."
Trainer Michael Matz, who will send out Union Rags in the Belmont, says he still plans to ship his colt to Belmont on Wednesday. He, too, wondered about the timing of the sweeping changes.
"Do they make this stuff up as they go along?" he asked Wednesday.
When the horses are moved to the secure stakes barn, they will be required to have a blood test upon arriving at the barn, and it will be reviewed that night at the New York State Racing and Wagering Board's drug lab.
Limited numbers of people associated with a horse will be allowed to be in the stakes barn, including the licensed trainer, assistant trainer, veterinarian, groom, hot walker and owners. Those entering a horse's stall, in contact with a horse or working on the horse will have their entry and exit logged. The stakes barn will have 24-hour security.
Equipment, feed, and hay among other items will be searched and checked. All veterinarians must provide written notice of intended treatment before doing so, and investigators will monitor all treatment and items used.
The day before the Belmont no vets will be allowed to treat horses without first making an appointment with investigators. On race day, treatment will be allowed only in case of emergency or by agreement with the stewards.
The board will "ensure that the race is run in a safe and fair manner," board chairman John Sabini said Wednesday.
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