Kentucky Authority Tightens Regulations on Cobra Venom
Date Posted: 10/29/2007 5:11:10 PM

Photo: KHRA

The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority on Oct. 29 approved changes in its rules and regulations to prohibit the administration of cobra venom in Standardbreds.

KHRA chairman Bill Street said the changes were necessary because it had been determined that the wording of the regulation on prohibited substances could allow the administration of cobra venom. Cobra venom, which deadens nerves, was banned as part of a new medication rule that took effect earlier this year.

Cobra venom was allowed for use, however, as part of regulations pertaining to the nerving of Standardbreds, according to KHRA executive director Lisa Underwood, who said the rules regarding nerving would be revised to be consistent with the medication rules.

The regulations for Thoroughbreds already precluded both the presence of cobra venom in a horse and on the racetrack grounds.

The action comes after the KHRA suspended trainer Patrick Biancone following the discovery of cobra venom in one of his barns at Keeneland. An investigation revealed the substance had been placed there by veterinarian Dr. Rod Stewart.

Biancone and the authority subsequently entered into an agreement under which the trainer will serve a six-month suspension beginning Nov. 1 and will not apply for re-licensing for an additional six months after that. Stewart is appealing his five-year suspension from the authority.

As a follow-up to the Oct. 17 special KHRA meeting during which the settlement with Biancone was reached, authority vice chair Connie Whitfield told fellow board members Oct. 29 she would have voted against the against the agreement with Biancone, but that her vote was not recorded because of a glitch in the electronic equipment used for Whitfield’s participation in the meeting via telephone.

Street said that during the Oct. 17 meeting, Whitfield was able to listen to the discussion with regard to Biancone but she was unable to participate in the conversation or have her voted recorded. Street said the KHRA staff and other members were unaware of the problem at the time. The record of the meeting indicated that the vote was 9-2 in favor of the agreement, with only Tom Ludt and Dell Hancock voting against it.

Participating in the Oct. 29 meeting again via telephone, but with different electronic equipment than that used Oct. 17, Whitfield said she wanted to go on the record because of reaction she has received. “I would not have voted with the majority,” said Whitfield, adding that she had some questions for Biancone’s attorney that she was unable to ask.

Also during the Oct. 29 meeting, the KHRA approved race dates and racetrack license applications for 2008.

The dates, listed below, maintain the status quo that existed this year and include only one overlap in Thoroughbred dates. That overlap, with both Churchill Downs and Ellis Park conducting live racing July 4-6, is a result of the agreement reached when Churchill Downs Inc. sold Ellis Park to new owners.

The dates are:

Thoroughbred:

Keeneland Spring Meet
April 4 through and including Friday, April 25,
April 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25
Total racing days: 16

Keeneland Fall Meet
October 3 through and including Saturday, October 25.
October 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25
Total racing days: 17

Churchill Spring Meet
April 26, 27, 29, 30
May 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31
June 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29
July 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Total racing days: 52

Churchill Fall Meet
October 26, 29, 30, 31
November 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29
Total racing days: 26

Ellis Park Meet
July 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31
August 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31
September 1
Total racing days: 44

Turfway Park Winter/Spring Meet
January 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27,  30, 31
February 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29,
March 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
April 2, 3,
Total racing dates: 66


Turfway Park Fall Meet
September 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28
October 1, 2
Total racing dates: 22


Turfway Park Holiday Meet
November 30
December 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19,  20, 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31
Total racing dates: 22

Kentucky Downs
September 13, 15, 16, 20, 22, 23
Total racing dates: 6

Standardbred:

The Red Mile Standardbred Meet

Exhibition Dates (No wagering permitted)
Jan. 1, April 9, May 19, July 26, Nov. 19, Dec. 31
Total racing dates: 6

Standardbred  Dates
July 27, 28, 31
August 3, 4, 7, 10, 11, 14, 17, 18, 21, 24, 25, 28, 31
September 1, 4, 7, 8, 11, 14, 15, 18, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 30
October 1, 2, 3, 4
Total racing dates: 34

The Red Mile Quarter Horse Meet

Exhibition Dates (No wagering permitted)
Jan. 1, July 17, July 20, Dec. 31
Total racing dates: 4

Quarter Horse Dates
July 18, 19
Total racing dates: 2


Thunder Ridge Raceway

May 28, 30, 31
June 4, 6, 7, 11, 13, 14, 18, 20, 21, 25, 27 and 28
July 2, 4, 5, 9, 11, 12, 16, 18 and 19
Total racing dates: 24

Players Bluegrass Downs
April 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26
May 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17
Total racing dates: 18



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