04/17/2014 3:36PM

Owners, trainers pledge to make vet records public


Dozens of owners and trainers have pledged to make the veterinary records of their horses publicly available for graded stakes run in the United States, The Jockey Club announced Thursday, several days after the chairman of the organization called on the owners of Triple Crown horses to do the same.

The list includes prominent racing and breeding operations such as Adena Springs and Stonestreet Stables, along with many top trainers with influential clients, including D. Wayne Lukas, Shug McGaughey, and Bill Mott. The list also includes Phipps Stable, which is led by Ogden Mills Phipps, the chairman of The Jockey Club who released the statement Monday urging the release of vet records for Triple Crown horses.

Under the pledge, the owners and trainers will make available vet records of horses entered in graded stakes for the 14-day period prior to the running of the race. The records will be made available on the day of the race, though The Jockey Club has not yet determined where the records will be posted, according to a spokesman for the organization, Bob Curran.

The movement to make vet records publicly available has gathered momentum over the past several years following requirements put in place in several states that mandated that owners submit the records to racing commissions for horses entered in high-profile races, such as the Triple Crown races. Supporters of the effort contend that the availability of the records will make the sport appear to be more transparent about the use of medication.

Vet records typically contain shorthand for common treatments and include documentation of all regulated medications given to a horse, and they also usually include the administration of electrolytes and vitamins. It is highly unlikely that veterinarians who have administered an illegal medication to a horse would list the drug on a vet bill. Absence of a drug on a vet bill is in no way considered evidence that a horse was not given the drug if the substance is detected in post-race urine or blood samples.

Acknowledging that the records could be misinterpreted by the general public, The Jockey Club said the American Association of Equine Practitioners has agreed that it “will provide to media, upon request, general information about medications and treatments described in” the veterinary records.