The focus was on safety when the National Steeplechase Association conducted its semi-annual stewards training program for 33 participants at NSA headquarters in Fair Hill, Md., on Sept. 25. The day-long session is an annual requirement for every steward at an NSA race meet and provides Racing Officials Accreditation Program continuing-education credits.
One of the featured speakers was Scott E. Palmer, V.M.D., who became the New York State Gaming Commission’s first equine medical director at the beginning of the year. Dr. Palmer, who has more than 30 years of clinical experience and is a former president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, explained his role in protecting the safety of every horse racing at New York Thoroughbred and Standardbred tracks. His oversight includes NSA races conducted at Saratoga Race Course and Belmont Park.
Reynolds Cowles, D.V.M., an NSA director who chairs the Steeplechase Safety Task Force, explained the changes that have occurred this year based on recommendations of the Task Force. One of the recommendations adopted by the NSA Board of Directors was the appointment of a safety steward for every race meet.
Explaining the duties and functions of the safety steward were Hugh Gallagher, the ROAP chairman who serves as the New York Racing Association’s safety steward, and Rug Howard, who has been an NSA safety steward at the spring race meets.
Alan Foreman, the NSA’s counsel, provided an update on national racing medication regulations. Earlier this year, the NSA adopted Mid-Atlantic racing medication protocols.
John Gerweck, chief state steward at Parx Racing for the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission, provided a video review of racing at the Philadelphia-area track. Bill Gallo Jr., the NSA’s director of racing and a ROAP-accredited steward, reviewed the NSA’s racing program at Saratoga Race Course and provided a video review of NYRA races.
Also participating in the sessions were NSA President Guy J. Torsilieri and Dwight Hall, an NSA director and chairman of the Stewards Advisory Committee. “This was a very valuable and informative session, and we are gratified that Dr. Palmer could participate in our training and provide his insights into current trends,” Torsilieri said.