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Regulating the Pari-Mutuel Environment

The role of Veterinary Racing Officials (track vet, etc.)

Veterinary medicine has three distinct and separate areas of responsibility at racetracks: (a) the racing commission (or board) is responsible for control and regulation of racing within the state, (b) the racing association is responsible for operation of the racetrack, and (c) the horse owners and trainers. All officials and all veterinarians in any way connected with racing should be licensed by both the veterinary board and racing commission in the state in which the racetrack is located. Some states elect to combine the responsibilities of the commission veterinarian and the association veterinarian.

The Commission Veterinarian

The commission (or board) veterinarian, sometimes referred to as the state veterinarian, is usually appointed by the state racing commission. This person serves as professional advisor and consultant to the state racing commission on veterinary matters including all regulatory aspects of the application and practice of veterinary medicine at the track.

The Association Veterinarian

The association veterinarian, sometimes referred to as the track veterinarian, is employed by the racing association and serves as a professional advisor and a consultant to the racing association and its operational staff at the track.

Practicing Veterinarians

Private practitioners are employed by owners and trainers on an individual case or contract basis


Emergency Care

The track or, in some states, the commission veterinarian is responsible for immediate evaluation of horses injured in the paddock, the post parade or in the starting gate. In addition these individuals are responsible for providing emergency care for animals acutely injured or exhibiting distress during or following a race. Emergency treatment is followed by transfer of the horse to the care of a private practitioner.