An important duty for regulatory (commission or association) veterinarians is the pre-race inspection of all horses scheduled to race. This inspection is performed to determine, in the veterinarian’s professional opinion, whether a horse is able to compete.
A suggested pre-race inspection should include:
proper identification of each horse;
pre-race observation of each horse in motion;
manual palpation when indicated;
close observation in the paddock and saddling area, during the parade to post, at the starting gate, during and after the race and any other inspection deemed necessary.
Following inspection, regulatory veterinarians will recommend to the stewards or judges the scratching of any horse that, in their opinion, is physically unfit to race. The AAEP recognizes that pre-race inspection cannot prevent all racing injuries nor can it detect all pre-existing conditions. The primary responsibility for the condition of the horses entered to race rests with the trainer.