Keeneland coordinates with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) Medical Director to ensure ample practicing veterinarians are on track during racing and training. The KHRC provides an official veterinarian who manages the KHRC veterinary staff, maintains the practices and procedures and ensures compliance with those practices and procedures.
Pre-race exam: The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission veterinarian performs a pre-race exam of every horse the morning the horse is to race. The exam, which takes place with the trainer at the horse’s barn, is to determine the horse’s soundness to race. The exam includes observing the horse while it is being jogged and examining the horse’s legs.
During the race day, the KHRC veterinarian is stationed in the Paddock to observe the horses before each race. He or she continues to monitor the horses during the post parade and while they are loaded into the starting gate. A jockey who questions the condition of his or her mount can communicate concerns to the KHRC veterinarian, who will assess the horse.
Post-race exam: After the horses are unsaddled on the track near the Winner’s Circle, the KHRC veterinarian continues to observe the horses until they are led off the track. Keeneland has water available to cool a horse that might be overheated. A track employee also walks with the horses as they are led off the track in case one needs additional attention.
Veterinarians’ List: The KHRC maintains a list of horses that are ineligible to enter a race as a result of illness, injury, unsoundness or other medical condition. Horses are only released from this list by authorization of the KHRC veterinarian.