Governor Susana Martinez announced today that she has signed Senate Bill 72 and Senate Bill 444, two pieces of legislation designed to improve horse racing standards and testing in New Mexico. SB 72 creates a fund that will ensure that racehorse testing in New Mexico takes place at a lab that meets or exceeds national standards. SB 444 increases civil penalties up to $100,000 for anyone who places a horse or jockey at risk and also makes administering a performance-altering substance to a horse a fourth degree felony. Governor Martinez was joined by sponsor Senator Mary Kay Papen (D-Las Cruces) this morning at a bill signing ceremony at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.
"New Mexico has one of the most competitive horse racing industries in the country," said Governor Martinez. "We owe it to owners, jockeys, horses, and fans alike to ensure that everyone in the industry conducts themselves with integrity. Anyone who endangers a horse or a jockey should face stiff penalties. I'm proud that these bills bring us a step closer to a world-class horse racing industry."
"It's unacceptable that some bad apples tarnish the state's horse racing industry by taking advantage of horses and putting them and their jockeys at risk," Senator Papen added. "I'm proud that we will now be enforcing the highest standards and making sure that New Mexicans know that our industry operates with integrity."
These pieces of legislation follow several actions taken by the Racing Commission last year to improve testing and crack down on abuse and fraud, including:
Modeling penalties after national standards utilizing Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) penalty guidelines;
Taking steps to utilize an accredited laboratory with more comprehensive testing procedures to identify drugs and substances used in the racing industry; and
· Modeling penalties after national standards utilizing Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) penalty guidelines;
· Taking steps to utilize an accredited laboratory with more comprehensive testing procedures to identify drugs and substances used in the racing industry; and
· Penalizing trainers and owners who choose to cheat by implementing penalties that include 20+ year suspensions.