Represent the best equine welfare policies for Rillito Park Race Track as a regulatory veterinarian during the 2023 race meet from January 20 to April 5, 2023. There are 18 race dates on Saturdays and Sundays from February 4-5 through April 1-2.
On race days, the two Track Veterinarians are at the race track from 8AM until Noon to pre-race examine all of the horses entered to race that day at a 1PM post time for the first race. The Track Veterinarians administer all of the LASIX injections to the entries on LASIX at 4 hours before post time for the race in which the horse is entered. There are usually nine races per day ending around 5PM. Once all of the horses are pre-race examined and all LASIX shots are administered, One Track Veterinarian is free to leave.
During the races, the Track Veterinarian is in the Saddling Paddock to observe the horses entering the Saddling Paddock for identification and saddling. The Track Veterinarian then watches the horses in the post parade, goes to the Starting Gate to observe the pre-race warm-up, watches the horses load in the gate and witnesses the start. Prior to the start of the race, the Track Veterinarian has the responsibility to recommend to the Stewards that a horse be scratched from the race for lameness in the warm-up or injury loading in the starting gate. The Track Veterinarian then watches the race and proceeds to the unsaddling area near the Winner’s Circle and finish-line to see if any horse finishes the race lame or experiences noticeable pulmonary bleeding. Then the Track Veterinarian will watch the horses for the next race come up the straightaway from the barn area proceeding to the Saddling Paddock.
Should any horse be injured in the race, experience severe pulmonary bleeding or pulled up lame during or after the race, the Track Veterinarian will proceed to the horse with the starting gate crew to see if the horse needs to be removed by the horse ambulance. Should the horse require euthanasia on the race track, the Track Veterinarian will administer the injections.
After the races, the Track Veterinarian will stop at the Test Barn to check with the State Veterinarian as to any problems that might have occurred.
During morning training, which is held every day except Mondays from 6-10AM, one Track Veterinarian shall be at the race track to observe training for any mishaps or horses pulling up lame or exhibiting pulmonary bleeding. Should this happen, the Track Veterinarian shall examine the horse to determine if the horse needs to be placed on the Veterinarian’s List. A practicing veterinarian will be responsible for treating the horse and euthanasia should it be necessary. The Track Veterinarian will also be pre-workout examining horses that are seeking to get off the Vet List, or have been ordered to workout by the Stewards. The Track Veterinarian will observe that horse working out on the race track, pulling up and leaving the race track. The Track Veterinarian may require that horse to go to the Test Barn where the State veterinarian will draw a blood sample for racing laboratory testing.
The Track Veterinarians will each be assisted on both racing and training days by a Field Safety Stewards’ Aide which is a University of Arizona Equine Science Student.
Wages and Income:
$500 for a Race Day
$200 for a Training Day
$25 for LASIX injections with the Track Veterinarian providing the LASIX and syringes. The Horsemen’s Bookkeeper will collect the $25 from the owner’s account.
There will be two research projects on national interest conducted during the 2023 Rillito Park race meet.
StrideSAFE is a biometric sensor mechanism that slips into the saddle cloth to detect minute changes in a horse’s gait at high speed. These changes that are undetectable to the naked eye are recorded in a stop-light fashion with green for all-clear, varying shades of amber as warnings for possible lameness and red for potentially serious injuries. The New York Racing Association conducted a StrideSAFE study of 6,600 Thoroughbred race starters in the first half of 2022. Of the 20 catastrophic breakdowns, 17 had StrideSAFE red lights in prior races or workouts.
The use of LASIX to prevent pulmonary bleeding in Quarter Horses will be studied by the American Quarter Horse Association.
All Equine Veterinarians that would be interested in applying for the two Track Veterinarian positions at the 2023 Rillito Park Race Track should contact Racing Manager Mike Weiss at (614) 496-8383 & [email protected] and/or Track Steward Dan Fick at (502) 319-0767 & [email protected].