Official Notices are published weekly during the racing season. You can access this year's Official Notices at the following links:
Official Policies first became available online in 2017. The NSA posts policies as they are published.
Considering the fact that steeplechase races are currently "non-covered" races under HISA rules, the NSA Stewards Advisory Committee has determined, by policy, that the NSA will abide by a revised version of the HISA crop rule. Stewards will remain cognizant and enforce the limited strike rule as defined in Class 3 (1-3 strikes over 6-strike limit), however they will not disqualify a horse for a Class 2 or Class 1 violation. Note: All other penalties for Class 2 and Class 1 violations will be applied. Furthermore, NSA jockeys may use any type of ProCush crop prior to August 1, 2022, then must use a ProCush "National Hunt" model, approved by the stewards.
By order of the Stewards Advisory Committee, NSA Rule 5.10.A.1., which states: The starter shall ensure all participants an equal opportunity to a fair start in proper post position order; has been modified by eliminating the requirement to be in proper post position order.
Also, jockeys are reminded that the start of a race under NSA rules commences when the starter drops the flag. Failure to obey the orders of the starter, and not advance the horse forward, may result in a fine of $500, regardless of any instruction by the trainer to the contrary. Trainers are reminded that horses that dwell at the start are subject to be put on the Starter’s List.
If a horse is lame at the first jog, it will be given the chance to re-present after a walking warmup. If the horse does not re-present, it will be declared a vet scratch and reported to the stewards immediately. If the horse jogs a second time and it is not cleared, it will be reported immediately as a vet scratch. Both instances will automatically put the horse on the Vets List and all procedures apply.
Following recent incidents of horses slipping and falling, and after hearing the concerns of horsemen, the Stewards Advisory Committee has made the following modification (in bold) to the NSA Shoe Policy:
No toe grabs, caulks, stickers, turndowns, inserts, trailers, or heel extensions will be allowed on the front or hind shoes. Note: The insert on the toe of the Queen’s Plate is considered a “wear plate,” not a toe grab. Block heels on the hind shoes (not to exceed 1⁄4 inch) are permissible. Outer rim shoes are allowable providing there is no toe grab.
Further Clarification: No protrusions below the ground surface of the shoe is the target of the rule. On outer rims, consider the rim itself to be the ground surface and grind the toe grabs down flush with it. On everything else the grab gets ground down to flush with the shoe’s surface. There are a variety of Block Heels available from various manufacturers. As long as they’re labeled Block Heels from the maker, they are permitted. Again, with the toes ground flush to the surrounding shoe surface.
A horse may be placed on the NSA Vet’s List by the Stewards, based on a recommendation by the race meet veterinarian, due to pre-race veterinary examination findings or lameness or injury during a race or lameness or heath conditions observed post-race. During the pre-race examination, if the examining vet discovers a condition that warrants a second review, that horse may be walked “in hand,” not lunged or ridden before a second examination.
Any horse that is placed on the NSA Vet’s List “for lameness” shall not be eligible for race entry for at least seven (7) days and said horse must be examined by an equine veterinarian at the resident stable. That exam must consist of a complete assessment of that horse with particular attention to the findings that placed the horse on the vet’s list. The horse will be observed in hand and under tack at a walk, trot and canter. If examination findings indicate that the horse is racing sound, a drug screen shall be drawn and submitted to a testing laboratory. If that screen is negative, the horse will be re- moved from the Vet’s List. The cost of the examination and the drug screen shall be the responsibility of the trainer or owner of the horse.
This examination of a horse on the NSA Vet’s List differs from most flat racing jurisdictions in that there is no designated work required other than observation under tack. This difference is due to the wide- spread geographic distribution of horses involved in jump racing and the lack of supervising regulatory veterinarians in most areas.
Clenbuterol is an accepted treatment for certain respiratory diseases in the horse, however, it has been used off label for its partitioning affects and as an anabolic agent.
Clenbuterol is prohibited in racing and NSA has a zero-tolerance level for this substance in post-race testing. If a horse has been prescribed by a veterinarian for the treatment of respiratory disease in a horse that is to run in an NSA sanctioned race, a copy of that prescription must be filed with the NSA Equine Medical Director at the NSA office.
No horse should run within 30 days of treatment and if there is a question of clearance then a pre-race drug test should be run to ensure compliance.
If clenbuterol has been detected in a horse’s post-race or out-of-competition sample and the appropriate prescription has not been filed, the horse shall be placed on the Official Veterinarian’s List pending investigation.
In all allowance and open hurdle races (including stakes) at NSA race meets, weights will be adjusted upward when a high-weight (by allowance condition) is not entered, or the high-weight is scratched.
At the time of entry into any NSA steeplechase claiming race, the trainer may declare a horse ineligible to be claimed provided:
- The horse has not started for a minimum of 180 calendar days since its last race; and
- The horse is entered for a claiming price equal to or greater than the price at which it last started over jumps or on the flat.
By order of the Stewards Advisory Committee, trainers are reminded to have a stable assistant on hand with a horse receiving Lasix at the time of administration. If such horse is left unattended, the horse may be scratched by the Stewards and the trainer may be subject to a fine.
Apprentice Rider Policy (Hurdles)
- New applicants shall have ridden in five (5) races (acceptable to the Stewards Advisory Committee) over fences at Point-to-Points or three (3) sanctioned races over timber prior to being granted an NSA Provisional License to ride over hurdles.
- An apprentice jockey license shall be considered “provisional” by the Stewards Advisory Committee until the jockey wins two (2) hurdle races or completes ten (10) sanctioned rides over hurdles, whichever occurs first. Additionally, the Stewards Advisory Committee reserves the right to determine whether an apprentice jockey is permitted to ride in any hurdle race.
- An apprentice jockey shall not ride in a maiden hurdle race prior to having completed five (5) sanctioned hurdle rides and then must be approved by the Stewards Advisory Committee. Additionally, a horse which has fallen or lost the rider in two of the horse’s last five starts or in the horse’s most recent start, will not be an eligible mount.
- An apprentice jockey shall not ride a first-time starter over hurdles prior to having completed five (5) sanctioned hurdle rides and then must be approved by the Stewards Advisory Committee.
- An apprentice jockey shall not ride a three-year-old in a hurdle race prior to having completed five (5) sanctioned hurdle rides and then must be approved by the Stewards Advisory Committee.
- An apprentice jockey may not ride in a hurdle race at the flat tracks prior to having completed five (5) sanctioned hurdle rides and then must be approved by the Stewards Advisory Committee.
Note: All apprentices are prohibited from riding at any NYRA track.
Further Guidelines for New Rider Applicants
- A “Provisional License” issued by the Stewards Advisory Committee will be approved for Flat, Hurdle and/or Timber for each new applicant, as the Committee deems appropriate.
- Flat wins do NOT count against an apprentice claim in steeplechase races.
- An apprentice jockey shall be endorsed by two (2) licensed trainers in good standing.
- The Stewards Advisory Committee shall review each “new” applicant and approve every license, as well as review any current licensee referred to the Committee by the Stewards.
As a condition of license all NSA licensees are expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the best interests of racing. Any conduct deemed to be detrimental to the sport, the NSA, or the individual race meets and their representatives will subject the offender to a fine or suspension, or both, in accordance with the NSA Rules of Racing.
By order of the NSA Stewards Advisory Committee January 19, 2018.
By order of the NSA Stewards Advisory Committee, horses that have been microchipped per The Jockey Club standards, are eligible to run under NSA rules provided they can be properly scanned and identified.
Official Rulings first became available online in 2017. The NSA posts rulings as they are published.
- NSA Stewards Advisory Committee Ruling - Gerard Galligan - June 10, 2022
- NSA Stewards Advisory Committee Ruling - Parker Hendriks - May 27, 2022
- NSA Stewards Advisory Committee Ruling - Graham Watters - May 27, 2022
- Virginia Racing Commission Stewards' Ruling - May 7, 2022
Please find below access to license applications for Owners, Trainers, and Riders.