The office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has written to racing authorities to ask for an independent investigation into the deaths of 16 horses at the Aqueduct track in the last two and a half months.
The string of fatalities began when Aqueduct, in Queens, opened its mile-long inner track on November 30, according to reports.
Cuomo’s office sent a letter to New York Racing Association president Charles Hayward advising to body to hire a qualified independent investigator to look into the accidents and recommend necessary action.
The letter was signed by Deputy Secretary for Gaming Bennett Liebman and New York State Division of the Budget director Robert Megna.
The letter told the association: “This pattern of equine loss should not be allowed to continue.”
It went on: “The scope of the review should include existing policies on disclosures, necropsies, track conditions and pre-race examination of horses.
“The rules on claiming, veterinary procedures, and drug use must be examined to determine what we can do to promote equine safety.
“Everyone understands that horse racing poses risks, but that cannot be an excuse for our inaction. The status quo in all aspects of horse racing is not working, and we need to develop procedures now that work for the horses, riders and the racing public in New York.”
The racing association said in a statement it would co-operate with requests made in the letter and would make a recommendation to the Racing and Wagering Board regarding selection of an investigator.