10/05/2012 4:28PM

Keeneland: State vet mistakenly gives Lasix to horse


LEXINGTON, Ky. – On the first day that state veterinarians in Kentucky were responsible for administering pre-race shots of furosemide, one of the favorites in Keeneland’s seventh race was mistakenly given the diuretic and ended up racing on the anti-bleeder medication, finishing second.

Exothermic, trained by Rusty Arnold and owned by Green Lantern Stables, was administered the drug after the state’s onsite veterinarians made a mistake when transcribing information from the entries database to paper, according to Dr. Mary Scollay, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s Equine Medical Director. The transcriptions were necessary after the track’s Internet wireless access went down shortly after the gates to the track opened, Scollay said.

“It is entirely our fault,” she said.

Despite snickering among many horsemen, Richard Masson, owner of Green Lantern with his wife, called the mistake “unfortunate,” but said he had little worries about running the horse with furosemide. Arnold called it an “honest mistake” and said that no matter what happened in the race, they wouldn’t seek any recourse.

“We’re not crybabies,” Arnold said, adding that he supported the program to restrict raceday administrations to state vets. “It was a snafu that unfortunately happened on opening day. It’s a shame, but it’s not the end of the world.”

Keeneland’s announcer, Kurt Becker, announced the change from the program repeatedly. The change also appeared on Keeneland’s video scroll.

The state took over the administration of pre-race furosemide shots as of Friday through a rule passed by the racing commission last year. In August, a state legislative committee struck down the rule at the behest of the state’s horsemen group, but it was reinstated later that month when Gov. Steve Beshear over-rode the committee’s vote.

Exothermic, a 3-year-old colt, had made two starts prior to the opening-day allowance, winning both without furosemide.

Owners are being charged $20 for the pre-race furosemide shot. Scollay said that the Massons would not be charged.