Ruffian Medical Center Opens Near Belmont

The Ruffian Equine Medical Center (REMC), a state-of-the-art equine hospital located across the street from the backstretch at Belmont Park, opened its doors May 26. The practice, owned and operated by Dr. James Hunt, DVM, and overseen by chief surgeon Dr. Patricia Hogan, VMD, ACVS, will act as a hub for area horses of all breeds and disciplines, specializing as a center for diagnostics and orthopedic surgery.

The project took four years of planning and construction at a cost of $18 million.

“Long Island has never had a facility of this scale,” said Dr. Hunt.  “It’s overdue considering the population of horses in the area.  We’re thrilled to be able to provide the best services we can to the horse owners, their trainers, and their veterinarians.”

The facility housing the REMC was conceptualized by International Equine Acquisitions Holdings, the group that co-owned 2008 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I) winner Big Brown.  The hospital was designed by British architect and IEAH director John Roberts to the specific requirements of Drs. Hunt and Hogan.

“A lot of people associate this hospital today with IEAH Corporation, and certainly through the efforts of IEAH Corporation the building was constructed,” said Richard Schiavo, co-CEO of IEAH. “Now that the facility is finished, IEAH is a landlord and the operation of the hospital and the veterinary practice rests exclusively with Drs. Hunt and Hogan and their professional staff, and we wish them the best of luck. "

“This will be a place where veterinarians can refer horses for diagnostics, certain emergency medical situations, and orthopedic surgeries, but remain the primary clinician once the patient has been discharged,” noted Dr. Hunt.  “We see this as a center where outside surgeons are invited by their clients to travel to the hospital in order to provide services. This would alleviate stress to the horse as well as the expense of shipping to another clinic. It will be very convenient for horsemen from Belmont Park to walk their horses across the street as well as for Long Island and surrounding area horsemen to be only a short trailer ride away.”

The medical center spans more than 22,000 square feet and includes two surgery suites, three recovery stalls, CT (computed tomography), a high-speed treadmill, digital radiography, as well as three portable EKLIN units, nuclear scintigraphy, a full-service laboratory, a lameness strip and outdoor lunging ring, three climate-controlled stalls, and 26 standard stalls in the barn.

“The equine center is a great showplace for the veterinary community,” said Dr. Hogan.  “It is my hope that the facility will be able to provide the best care possible for these horses. This will include an ‘open door’ policy that will welcome outside surgeons and/or specialists if their assistance is requested or required on a specific case. The ultimate goal is a successful outcome for the patient and convenient access for the client to the best medical care possible.”

The REMC also has retained the services of Dr. Chris Byron, previously of the University of Illinois, and is searching for a third surgeon. An internship program is also in place.

For more information on the Ruffian Equine Medical Center, check out HRTV's inside look at the new center (video).