Kentucky Equine Medical Director Mary Scollay saw funding for her position extended four years Friday, March 11 by the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council.
The EDRC approved funding for four more years of Scollay's position at a yearly contract to start at $147,580, with full benefits reaching $184,081. Funding for the position would have expired at the end of June if it hadn't been renewed by the EDRC.
Scollay's position overseeing equine health and welfare issues for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has a unique arrangement as it makes Scollay an adjunct faculty member of the University of Kentucky but is funded by the state's EDRC.
The only council member to oppose funding the position four more years was Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association president Rick Hiles, who said he voted against extending the position because he does not think the EDRC is following state statute by funding the UK adjunct faculty position. EDRC chairman Dr. Jerry Yon noted that the arrangement helps shield it from political pressures.
Yon noted the progress the state has made on equine health, safety, and welfare issues since Scollay, who had served as senior veterinarian for Gulfstream Park and Calder Race Course, was named the state's first equine medical director in August 2008.
He said Scollay immediately helped the state move quickly to adopt regulations on anabolic steroids. Since then he said some improvements Scollay has helped Kentucky put in place include an upgraded staff of regulatory veterinarians, improved tracking of equine breakdowns and injuries, and increased efforts to reduce those breakdowns and injuries through thorough race-day exams. Scollay helped the state put in place a program where state vets administer race-day furosemide, also known as Lasix or Salix.
"We feel like Mary Scollay has been a tremendous asset for racing in Kentucky," Yon said.
In 2014 the state registered its safest year on record in terms of both total equine breakdowns in races and rate of breakdowns in races. Those numbers came up a bit in 2015 but continued to be well below national averages.
Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders executive director Chauncey Morris applauded what amounted to an extension of Scollay's contract.
"Mary is unique so it's great to keep her in Kentucky," Morris said. "She is respected nationally and internationally by her peers. She'll continue to do great work for Kentucky horses."