One problem with out-of-competition testing involves horses that are stabled out of states. In states like New Jersey, horses stabled within the state are subject to this testing; this resulted in horses being stabled out of state; out of the reach of regulators. New York, in recognizing this shotcoming has attempted to address this shortcoming by requiring upon demand of the NYSRWB, that any horse stabled within 100 miles of New York State be shipped to New York for out-of-competition testing. Good idea, bad implementation.
To require horsemen to incur the expense of shipping their horse back and forth to New York for purposes of testing is unreasonable. First of all, there is the expense of shipping the horse to New York and back as well as sending along a person to supervise the drawing of split samples. For many people, racing horses is a losing proposition. It would be one thing if an owner who decides to have a horse trained by a trainer with multiple medication violations is required to ship a horse for testing (serves them right for letting this person train their horse), but to require an owner to incur the expense when no previous record exists is unfair and may result in losing owners. Secondly, the rule requires horses that are within a 100 miles of New York to ship in for testing. All an unscrupulous trainer would need to do is move their horses to a farm 101 miles away from New York and they would not be subjected to the New York rule.
The horsemen are up in arms over this. While they support out-of-competition testing, they are opposed to the New York rule with regards to the out-of-state provisions. Not only does it put New York-based horsemen at a disadvantage to horsemen stabled outside of the 100 mile radius, it incurs an additional expense to horsemen who are stabled out of state who would be subjected to the provisions of the 100 mile radius rule. It should be noted the horsemen support out-of-competition testing; their objection is with New York adopting a different rule from the other states.
The position of the NYSRWB is they need to be able to test out of state horses when they get intelligence indicating a trainer out of state is using prohibited substances. While I applaud the NYSRWB for attempting to address this problem, their solution is overkill. Coordination is the answer. If each state adopted the same out-of-competition rule; New York could inform the other racing state of their suspicions at which time the other state could perform the testing. If a violation was found, that state would issue the penalty and New York could honor the suspension.
In the meanwhile, there is another option. For privately owned tracks, there is a way to deal with out of state trainers who are suspected of using banned substances. There is nothing that prohibits the track from doing what Woodbine Entertainment Group does. As a condition of nominating or entering a horse to a WEG track, a trainer agrees to make the horse available upon demand to WEG or an agent for pre-race testing; thus allowing the track to send someone to draw a sample out of state/province. Failing a test or refusing to provide a horse for testing permits WEG to refuse entries from that trainer in the future. While this will not have the same impact as a formal suspension or license revocation from a racing commission, being excluded from a race track can be almost as devastating.