Owners Bring Wrongful Death Claims

Owners Bring Wrongful Death Claims
Photo: Associated Press
Millionaire Saratoga County among runners represented in wrongful death action.
The owners of rising 3-year-old sprint star Egg Head and millionaire sprinter Saratoga County are among a group of six Thoroughbred owners bringing suit in the alleged wrongful deaths of three racehorses and for severe damage to a fourth, according to a recent report in the Schenectady, N.Y. Daily Gazette.

In a civil action filed Sept. 29 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York in Albany, plaintiffs are claiming negligence, breach of warranty, and strict products liability against the New Jersey-based Wedgewood Village Pharmacy involving an antibiotic product they claim necessitated the humane killing of the animals in the weeks leading up to the 2005 Saratoga race meet.

According to the suit, three of the four horses were staying in the same Saratoga barn where they contracted a laryngeal infection known as Arytenoiditis. The owners claim that, within hours of being injected with Wedgewood's Chloramphenicol Palmitate Product, the condition of the horses deteriorated drastically.

According to the filing, among the symptoms Saratoga County (euthanized July 29), Cathy's Choice (euthanized), and Yankee Penny (severely damaged) suffered were loss of appetite, intestinal distention, depression, elevated heart rate, and colic.

Egg Head, who was treated at the barn of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin at Belmont Park after suffering a cut over one of his hocks, exhibited diarrhea and laminitis "to such an extent that it required his humane destruction on or about July 11."

Harvey Clark, who campaigned Egg Head under his Rabbit's Foot Stable banner, said his portion of the suit has been subrogated by his insurance company, NIA, and that he is not personally involved in the lawsuit.

The cause cites improper design, manufacture, compounding, formulation, mixing and/or labeling, (which) "led to the slow, painful demise of these horses."

Richlyn Farm, a Saratoga Springs, N.Y. corporation, owned the 4-year-old Saratoga County, winner of the $2 million Gulf News Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) in March. Trained by George Weaver, the son of Valid Expectations was to stand at stud at Vinery in Florida beginning in 2006.

Cathy's Choice, a 3-year-old filly was owned by Catherine and Donald Flanagan of Massachusetts; and Yankee Penny, an undefeated 3-year-old daughter of Quiet American for Weaver, is owned by John Peace.

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