January 24, 2020
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Legislation to Build a New Equine Drug Testing Lab in FY 2021 Executive Budget

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Legislation to Build a...

Proposal will Authorize NYRA to Use Capital Funds to Finance and Construct State of the Art Equine Drug Testing Laboratory and Research Center

Proposal Authorizes the Gaming Commission Entry into the Mid-Atlantic Drug Compact to Enhance Equine Drug Testing

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced legislation in the FY 2021 Executive Budget to authorize The New York Racing Association, Inc. to use capital funds to finance, construct and equip a new state-of-the-art equine drug testing laboratory and research center. The Executive Budget also proposes enabling New York to enter the Mid-Atlantic Drug Compact, which is designed to facilitate uniform passage of previously agreed-upon rules pertaining to equine medication and testing procedures. 

"Horse racing remains an important industry in many communities across New York, but preserving integrity in the sport is paramount to its future success," Governor Cuomo said. "Increasing the research capability of equine drug testing, through this new state-of-the-art lab is critical to this effort and will help ensure a level playing field and consumer confidence once and for all." 

Under the present law, the State contracts for equine drug testing and research services with Morrisville Auxiliary Corporation, a not-for-profit arm of SUNY Morrisville. Previously, drug testing had been hosted at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. While the testing undertaken on behalf of the New York State Gaming Commission is considered pre-eminent in North America, the structure of equine drug test funding has limited host facilities in making capital investment into facilities and equipment.   

The proposal continues the requirement that equine drug testing and research services be housed at a state college or at a land grant university. Once constructed, NYRA would be required to enter a long-term lease with the Commission, enabling their utilization of the new facility. The Commission would then be responsible for operating or contracting to operate the testing and research facility. 

In 2008, NYRA received a financial assistance package in exchange for settling outstanding issues related to three racetrack properties. The package ensured a percentage of video lottery gaming revenues was provided to NYRA to be used for enhanced purses, operational support, and capital expenses.

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