(Edited press release)
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission voted unanimously May 12 to adopt the recommended report of a hearing officer in the five-year suspension of veterinarian Dr. Rodney Stewart.
That report, issued April 6, involved state racing stewards' rulings dated Sept. 17, 2007, in regard to Stewart’s possession of multiple prohibited substances, mislabeled medications, and other matters, according to the report. He was suspended for four years for the possession of alpha cobra toxin and one year for the possession of substances carbidopa and levodopa, for a total of five years. Stewart had also received additional suspensions for medication labeling violations and additional violations which were to run concurrently with the five-year suspension.
An earlier suspension order against Stewart by the chief state steward, dated Aug. 16, 2007, relates to failure by Stewart to cooperate in a commission investigation. A formal hearing on the appeals of both matters was held in December 2008. The appeal of the Aug. 16, 2007, order was dismissed after Stewart complied with the order in December 2008.
Hearing officer Robert Layton ruled that the length of the suspensions is “legally supportable” and that “the penalties were imposed in connection with the possession of the most highly dangerous substances and serious violations of commission regulations, which represent a catastrophic threat to the safety of both horses and riders.”
Stewart filed exceptions to the Findings of Fact, Conclusion of Law and Recommended Report of the hearing officer. Those exceptions were noted by the KHRC but they followed the recommendation of the hearing officer and upheld the stewards ruling imposing a five-year suspension.