08/07/2012 4:40PM

Del Mar: Racing board backs vet in Elivette case

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DEL MAR, Calif. - The California Horse Racing Board has released a statement backing the decisions of track veterinarian Dr. Dana Stead in the handling of Elivette, who is the subject of a disputed claim after being euthanized following a race on Saturday.

Elivette suffered a fractured sesamoid bone and was euthanized after leaving the track. Under a newly enacted racing board rule, that meant that a claim on her by owner Demitrius Xanthos went through, but had Elivette been euthanized on the track, the claim would have been voided.

Former trainer Steve Rothblum, a bloodstock agent who represents Xanthos’s Fortuna Ranch Racing, said he was going to file a protest on the claim going through, believing the spirit of the new rule is that a horse whose injuries necessitate being euthanized should result in a voided claim. But he also said he believes the new rule is poorly written and “should be abolished.”

In a statement released by the board, Dr. Rick Arthur, the board’s equine medical director, said Stead made the correct call because “euthanasia is an irreversible decision.” Arthur said Stead followed the guidelines of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, which says all horses should be taken off the track and evaluated by a trainer’s private veterinarian unless “there is no reasonable alternative.”

The rule is scheduled to be addressed later this month at Del Mar, at either the board’s monthly meeting on Aug. 23, or the Aug 24 meeting of the board’s medication and track safety committee.