Report Finds No Cover-up in Intercontinental Case

There was no cover-up of the late administration of the anti-bleeding medication Salix to Intercontinental prior to her win in the Palomar Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar last summer. That's according to the steward who was appointed by the California Horse Racing Board to conduct a review of the case who also concluded that the chief accuser was the one most responsible for the oversight that allowed the champion mare to run improperly in the race.

Steward F. Scott Chaney, who was appointed by CHRB chairman Richard Shapiro, outlined his findings in a 100-page report he summarized at the board's March 22 medication committee meeting at the Golden Gate Fields Turf Club. The full board will consider the committee's recommendations at its March 23 meeting.

Chaney said he could not produce "a single shred of evidence" supporting the allegations made by former associate steward Gina Powell that CHRB executive director Ingrid Fermin, stewards George Slender and Kim Sawyer, and others were aware of the late shot prior to the Palomar and allowed Intercontinental to run anyway. Instead, he said officials learned of the mistake the next day and ordered an immediate investigation.

Owners of other horses in the Sept. 3 Palomar had requested the review after it was learned last month that Intercontinental's Salix shot had come at 12:10 p.m., less than the required four hours prior to race time. A veterinarian, Dr. Amy Nevens, was fined $750 in mid-October for improperly reporting the time the shot was administered. The three-person committee – chaired Wednesday by Shapiro – voted unanimously to recommend that the full racing board waive the 72-hour time limit on protests and allow those owners to challenge Nevens' fine and request redistribution of purses. The board of stewards or an administrative law judge would preside over such a hearing.

Chaney said he was unable to confirm parts of Powell's declaration while interviewing 30 people connected to the incident, and uncovered two substantial misstatements, prompting a follow-up declaration from her. However, Powell, who lives in Oklahoma, would not consent to being interviewed over the phone, Chaney said.

"Ironically, if Gina Powell is to be believed, it appears that she is the only CHRB official who had uncontroverted knowledge before the running of the Palomar Handicap of the misadministration of medication to Intercontinental," Chaney said. "She failed to contact the board of stewards, and by her own admission, she did not contact a single other CHRB official. "