Philip Aleong, the veterinarian responsible for the post-mortem amputation of the leg of Casual Conflict on Feb. 3, was notified by Gulfstream Park on Sunday that he would no longer be allowed on the grounds of either the racetrack or Gulfstream's training center Palm Meadows.
No reason was given for the termination of Aleong's privileges. "We have the right to deny anyone access to the grounds," was the only statement made by Gulfstream president Scott Savin.
Dave Roberts, director of Florida's Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, said that his division was not involved in the suspension but is working to rapidly conclude its investigation into the amputation.
Following the catastrophic injury and on-track euthanasia of Casual Conflict, a 9-year-old owned by Mike Gill and trained by Mark Shuman, Aleong removed a portion of the gelding's rear right leg at a holding barn in the Gulfstream backstretch. Gill said that Aleong called him and asked permission "to avoid having the leg just hang there."
A second veterinarian involved with the horses of Gill and Shuman, Leonard Patrick, was banned by Gulfstream on Feb. 12 for violations in the storage of Class 3 and Class 4 medications. That occurred just two days after track officials, along with representatives from the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau, performed a search of the vehicles of both Patrick and Aleong.
According to medication classification definitions from the Association of Racing Commissioners International, Class 3 and Class 4 drugs have "generally accepted medical use" in horses or are therapeutic medications for which usage limits have been established. Class 1 and Class 2 medications are considered to have the strongest potential for performance enhancement on the RCI's scale ranging from Class 1 to Class 5.
Aleong declined comment on Gulfstream's decision to deny his access to the track.
Gill and Shuman runners have dominated the racing at Gulfstream this winter. Though less than halfway through its 91-day season, both have smashed existing records for most wins in a meet.