A few odds and ends:

In a weku article (4/29/15) on Lasix, longtime (45 years) equine vet Mark Chaney offers his reason for supporting the raceday medication: “If you and I were in one of those stalls 22 hours a day, we’d have COPD so bad and emphysema. You know, you probably couldn’t even breathe.” How’s that for a (probably) unwitting condemnation of his entire industry?

In a Wall Street Journal article (5/25/15) on Victor Espinoza’s merciless whipping of American Pharoah in the Kentucky Derby, former Vice Chair of the CHRB Bo Derek is referred to as an “animal-rights activist.” Sorry, racing director and animal rights activist are wholly incompatible terms.

From the Santa Anita “Stewards Minutes” for May 21: “Jockey JOSEPH TALAMO was in the office this morning to review the stretch run of the fourth race from May 17, during which he hit his mount over the left ear with his whip several times. After viewing the race, the rider said he did not realize that it was improper to hit a horse on the ear as he had seen old videos of Hall of Famer CHRIS MCCARRON doing the same thing.” The next day, a ruling was issued: $300 fine and a “warning” – because, you know, “a warning [is] sufficient for a first time offense.”

This is horseracing.

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On December 10, Sage Valley dropped dead of an “apparent cardiac arrest” in a race at Aqueduct. At five, he was only just reaching the tail-end of puberty. Turns out, there was a drug “violation,” which may or may not have contributed to the horse’s premature death. This week, Sage Valley’s trainer, Rudy Rodriguez, received the following “punishment” from the NYS Gaming Commission:

“You are fined $3000.00 because on December 10, 2014, the horse ‘Sage Valley’ that you trained competed in the 8th race at Aqueduct Racetrack after having been administered glycopyrrolate (e.g. robinul) within 96 hours of the scheduled post time of its race in violation of New York State Gaming Commission rule 4043.2 (g) (6) and 4043.4. Having waived your right of appeal the fine is reduced to $1500.00. This penalty is reflective of the findings from the investigation.”

Apparently, the vet, Greg Bennett, was fined the same amount. In a statement, Bennett said, “Rudy had quite a few horses coughing and snotting in the barn, and he was near them. I was under the assumption it was a 72-hour [drug]. It was an error in judgment on my part…” “Coughing and snotting” barn-mates.

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By the way, Rudy Rodriguez is no stranger to the Commission, having just been fined and suspended in February for violations involving two different horses. In all, I count 13 suspensions in NY over the course of Rudy’s career. 13. And yet still allowed around horses. Surprised? Shouldn’t be – this is, after all, horseracing.

2-year-old QuarterHorse Kays Version broke down in a stakes trial at Sunland yesterday afternoon. Replay here (Dec 12, race 3) – the filly crumples to the dirt at :30 mark. She was trained by Jaime Aldavaz and owned by Currie Maben.

Also from yesterday: A pair of young athletes – David Rocks, Purling – were reported to have bled from the lungs (something that surely must happen in other sports, right?) while racing at Aqueduct. Both horses, of course, were run on Lasix.

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