NEW YORK (AP) — New York racing officials have imposed a strict set of rules for horses running in the Belmont Stakes, including out-of-competition blood testing and close scrutiny of the horses and humans who will be around them in the days leading up to the June 9 race.
I’ll Have Another is bidding to become the sport’s first Triple Crown winner in 34 years. His California-based trainer, Doug O’Neill, has a history of doping infractions and was recently suspended for 45 days, although the punishment won’t begin until after the Belmont.
Starting next Wednesday, all horses entered in the Belmont will have to move into a secure stakes barn at the track until after the race is run. The horses 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. Anyone entering a horse’s stall, in contact with a horse or working on the horse will have their entry and exit logged.
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