04/16/2015 9:01AM

Four veterinarians enter guilty pleas in Pennsylvania

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The four Pennsylvania veterinarians accused by federal prosecutors of illegally administering substances to horses on race day formally entered guilty pleas Tuesday in a Pennsylvania federal court, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, which brought the charges.

The veterinarians had earlier agreed to plead guilty as part of a settlement with federal prosecutors requiring their cooperation with an ongoing investigation. Sentencing is scheduled for July 21, according to the attorney’s office.

The veterinarians – Kevin Brophy, 60, of Florida; Fernando Motta, 44, of Pennsylvania; Christopher Korte, 43, of Colorado; and Renee Nodine, 52, of Pennsylvania – admitted to administering a variety of substances to horses based at Penn National in Grantville on race day, dating back to 1986, according to an indictment. The indictment identified the substances as supplements such as Carolina Gold, Kentucky Red, and Stop2; regulated medications such as the painkiller flunixin and the corticosteroid dexamethasone; and hormones such as estrogen.

The veterinarians are each facing maximum sentences of two years imprisonment and a $200,000 fine, though the penalties are likely to be substantially less given their agreement to cooperate with the investigation.

Federal prosecutors have been investigating backstretch practices at Penn National for several years.