The owners of champion mare Intercontinental and those who ran behind her in last September's $200,000 Palomar Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) at Del Mar argued in front of three California stewards June 5 whether the winner's share of the Palomar purse should be redistributed.
A day after the Palomar was run, it was found that Intercontinental was administered a Lasix shot some 20 minutes after the allotted time when the anti-bleeding medication is allowed to be given under California rules. Last October, veterinarian Amy Lee Nevens was fined $750 for filing a false veterinarian's report that indicated the shot was administered earlier in the day.
Stewards Albert Christiansen, Martin Hamilton, and Darrel McHargue heard arguments from the connections and attorneys of runner-up Amorama, third-place finisher Ticker Tape, and fourth-place finisher Katdogawn that Intercontinental's purse winnings should be redistributed. Intercontinental not only won the Palomar, but proved victorious in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT), earning an Eclipse Award for top turf female of 2005. She is owned by Juddmonte Farms.
"If the stewards had known that the horse was administered the shot too late, the horse would have been scratched," noted attorney Roger Licht, representing Marsha Naify, the owner of Amorama. "And they would have known had the report not been falsified. Under California Horse Racing Board rules, Lasix must be given more than four hours before the race, and any other administration turns it from a legal medication into an illegal one."
Attorney Steve Schwartz, representing Juddmonte, said that "no evidence was presented upon which a finding could be made that an unfair advantage was taken. Whether the stewards could have, should have, or might have known about the shot, you have to look at the law. Because Lasix is not a Class 1, 2, or 3 medication, people can be fined, but the horse is not disqualified and the purse is not redistributed under CHRB Rule 1755."
The stewards are expected to rule within a week.