CHRB Medication Committee to Review Intercontinental Incident

The California Horse Racing Board's medication committee plans to review the events surrounding the fining of a veterinarian who falsified a report on when she gave the champion mare Intercontinental a Salix shot prior to a stakes race at Del Mar in September, the agency's executive director said Feb. 25.

Ingrid Fermin said the committee's meeting date has not been set. It would likely take place prior to the commission's regular meeting set March 23 at Golden Gate Fields, however. She said Richard Shapiro, the CHRB's chairman and a member of the medication committee requested consideration after questions were raised over the incident.

Fermin said the matter would not be open for an "investigative hearing."

"There has already been an investigation," she said. "But we want to hear from the parties to see if any mistakes were made and if our understanding of the facts is correct."

Veterinarian Amy Lee Nevens was fined $750 Oct. 15 by the CHRB for falsely reporting when she administered a Salix shot last September at Del Mar.

On Sept. 3, Nevens administered a Salix shot to the mare at 12:10 p.m. for the 3:35 p.m. Palomar Handicap (gr. II), less than the four-hour window mandated by CHRB rule. Nevens reported that day she administered the Lasix at 11:30 a.m. on both the Bleeder Treatment Report and the Confidential Veterinarian Report.

However, a security guard at the barn of trainer Bobby Frankel recorded the administration of the shot on a video camera with a time stamp. At an Oct. 13 CHRB hearing, Nevens admitted giving the shot at 12:10.

Juddmonte Farms' Intercontinental, who would go on to be named the 2005 Eclipse Award winner as Outstanding Turf Female, easily won the Palomar at odds of 3-10.

Jim Ford, co-owner of Palomar fourth-place finisher Katdogawn, said he has sent a letter to Shapiro requesting the re-distribution of the Palomar's purse.

"Moving up to third would only make a $9,000 difference and it would cost three times that to pursue this through the courts," Ford noted, "but with all this talk about California being tough on drugs, they have a chance here to do something. I think they should have a hearing, admit they made a mistake, and redistribute the purse. Right now the buck is stopping pretty low on the totem pole."

Fermin said that Salix is not a Class 1, 2 or 3 drug -- in that it isn't considered to have an effect on a horse's performance -- so its administration after the proper time period would not be grounds for a purse redistribution. She also said that an appeal of the original decision should have been filed within 72 hours after it was made public in mid-October.

Fermin also disputed press reports that stewards or track officials had been told of the late shot by an associate steward prior to the race. "There was no mention of that in the confidential investigative report," she said.

Horses, she added, are routinely scratched by stewards for late Salix shots, a fairly common occurrence when veterinarians have too many stops to make and fall behind schedule.