Embattled owner Marty Wygod fired back Tuesday at the complaints filed against him by the California Horse Racing Board concerning events around Sweet Catomine's run in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) last Saturday.
"I have been in racing now for 40 years and I know the rules, and I've done nothing wrong whatsoever," Wygod stated. "I hope the CHRB will review this in the immediate future and that they'll correct the unfounded allegations that are currently being made against me."
The CHRB claims Sweet Catomine was falsely identified at the stable gate when she left Santa Anita for medical treatment April 4, and again when she was returned to the stable area the following night. The board also alleges Wygod violated a CHRB rule dealing with statements he made prior to and after the race concerning the health of his filly, who finished fifth in the event as the even-money choice.
Wygod, however, strongly denies that charge. "I hid nothing," he said. "Anybody that asked me questions, I responded. When they asked me how I felt, my worries were very clear. I said I was apprehensive and nervous. All they had to do was ask why I was apprehensive.
"This is a combination of too much hype and then people getting upset thinking they've been misled. What do you do when your vet tells you she's perfect, the vets who saw her upstate (at Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center) tell you she's perfect, and the trainer says she's perfect?
"She bled at a level of less than one in her workout before the race. I was concerned because it's the first time I was aware that she bled, and I took the appropriate and necessary steps. At least 80% of the horses racing here bleed worse than that. Then she came in season, and we treated her for that.
"With everything I know now, I still would have run her. Who knows what caused (her to run badly)? It could have been the medication. Hopefully the horse racing board will bring some sanity to the situation."
Administrative hearings are scheduled April 23 with the Hollywood Park stewards.