Tucson, AZ — Dr. Scot Waterman, DVM, Equine Medical Director and Veterinary Consultant for the New Mexico Racing Commission, spoke Wednesday in the Advanced Racing Laws and Enforcement class. Dr. Waterman, an alumnus of the RTIP, began his career as a small animal vet before switching leads and earning his bachelor’s degree in animal science at the University of Arizona.
In the law class, he described the need for and duties of an Equine Medical Director. Some of the duties of the job include overseeing testing, monitoring racing soundness, managing equine emergencies, and managing disease and biosecurity on the backstretch. He also briefly touched on the Equine Injury Database, which was born from the fallout after the high profile deaths of Barbaro and Eight Belles.
Dr. Waterman delved into the procedures that ensure the integrity of post-race samples. Each horse is identified in the paddock and selected by the stewards for post-race testing. These selections are often “random”, but some factors, such as a suspicious performance, strange behavior, and connections of interest will contribute to the horse’s selection. The horse will be escorted to and around the test barn by a licensee at all times and will make no stops on their journey. The horse will be identified again, and both blood and urine samples are acquired. Once the samples are obtained, they will be labeled, sealed, and placed in a locked cooler for transport. Each label has both a number and a bar code, but neither divulges any information about the horse the sample came from. While extensive, these procedures serve to establish a secure chain of custody.