Trainer Patrick Biancone, who was suspended after cobra venom and other substances were found in his barn at Keeneland three years ago, withdrew his application for a license to train in Kentucky Sept. 30 .
The decision came after the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s license review committee indicated it would reject Biancone’s application due to falsifying or omitting information. Under the Kentucky licensing procedures, the committee could have approved the application, rejected it, or given Biancone the right to withdraw it.
KHRC executive director Lisa Underwood said the committee’s decision will be relayed to the Association of Racing Commissioners International for inclusion on its rulings database. She said Biancone could reapply for a license in 2011.
In response to a question on his license application, Biancone included several fines he has incurred. However, license committee chairman Burr Travis noted there were several other fines imposed on Biancone that were not listed by the trainer.
Biancone, who is now licensed in eight North American jurisdictions, was seeking a Kentucky license for horses he planned to run during the fall meet at Keeneland and at Churchill Downs for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
The trainer said he had been granted 10 stalls at Keeneland, contingent upon getting a license. At the outset of the committee meeting, Biancone said he did not have a plan for his horses that might race in Kentucky in case his license application was rejected or withdrawn.
"I am trying to be positive," said Biancone, who noted that his horses could be turned over to other trainers, including his daughter Marie.
During his appearance before the committee, Biancone recounted the circumstances that led to his 2007 suspension over the cobra venom and steps he has taken to prevent a recurrence. Dr. Rod Stewart, a racetrack veterinarian who acknowledged the medications found in Biancone’s barn belonged to him, is serving a suspension that a court recently ruled should be reduced to four years from five.
Biancone was suspended for six months and agreed not to seek a license for an additional six months. The suspension was extended to a year after the commission determined Biancone had violated terms of the initial suspension.
"I made a mistake and I took my punishment," Biancone said of the incident.
Among the management steps he has taken to prevent a similar incident from happening, Biancone said he installed a video surveillance system in his barn. He said the system permits him to monitor all the actions in his barn regardless of where he is.
Biancone said having the camera had already helped him detect that the wrong horse had been incorrectly administered a medication this year at Del Mar. He explained that while reviewing the barn video he noticed a veterinarian in the stall of a horse that should not have been given the medication; he alerted stewards and the horse in question was scratched.
Biancone said he has also hired a day watchman for the barn, in addition to the night watchman he has always employed.