The policy was put in place two years ago when a growing number of thoroughbred and quarter horses became infected with equine piroplasmosis. The blood-borne disease is caused by parasites and can be spread from animal to animal by ticks or contaminated needles. Symptoms include fever, anemia, swollen abdomens and labored breathing.
The state says that increased awareness, testing and prevention efforts have dramatically reduced instances of the disease in horses. Eliminating the testing requirements for this year's racing season is expected to save race horse owners between $200,000 and $400,000 annually.