03/25/2015 12:45PM

McCauley charged with administering ‘milkshake’ on race day


LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has charged trainer Tevis McCauley with multiple violations of its racing rules, including administering a so-called milkshake to a horse entered on race day, according to the commission and McCauley.

McCauley, who has a string of horses at Keeneland, vehemently disputed the charges in an interview Wednesday, and he denied the specific charge of administering the milkshake, saying investigators were fully aware that the horse in question was not going to race on the day the horse was administered a solution of electrolytes and lactinates via nasal gastric tube, which often is called a “drench” on backstretches.

Dick Brown, a spokesman for the racing commission, said the commission could not comment on the investigation. However, he did provide a list of statutes that were cited in the complaint against McCauley, including several dealing with licensing issues and a specific rule prohibiting the administration of any substance by nasal gastric tube within 24 hours of a race.

McCauley, 30, said he has yet to be served with a formal complaint. However, he met with officials of the commission for two hours in early March, when the investigators questioned him about the milkshake charge, he said.

McCauley said his barn and truck had been searched multiple times by investigators prior to the alleged milkshake incident, which occurred in July at Keeneland and involved the horse Sasueno. McCauley said the horse had run a fever a day earlier, and he planned to scratch the horse from a race at Ellis Park in western Kentucky later that day. The horse was “drenched” that morning by a veterinarian in view of investigators, McCauley said.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “It’s ridiculous. The horse was not going to run that day. They knew it. He had a fever the night before, and the horse needed fluids. We didn’t have anything to hide.”

McCauley said commission investigators were focusing on his operation throughout 2014. He claimed the investigation likely stems from a former assistant trainer he had fired “with cause” late in 2013.

“This is getting old,” he said. “It’s just an irate former employee making crazy claims about me.”

One of the rules violations cited by the commission involves failing to report that a filly or mare had been covered by a stallion prior to running. McCauley said he does not know what the charge would be based on, and he said the only issue brought up during his two-hour meeting with commission staff involved the alleged milkshake incident.

“They didn’t mention any of that other stuff during the interview,” McCauley said.

McCauley said he has 17 horses in training. According to a database maintained by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, McCauley was suspended 10 days and fined $1,000 by the Kentucky commission for phenylbutazone and flunixin overages in a post-race test after a race at Turfway Park in December 2012. He also was fined $1,000 in September 2012 for a positive test for methylprednisolone, a corticosteroid, in Pennsylvania, and in the previous three years, he had several other horses test positive for overages of phenylbutazone in Indiana and West Virginia.

According to Equibase records, McCauley has won 126 races from 662 starts for total earnings of $2,865,630, a strike rate of 19 percent. This year, he has won with three horses from 13 starts.