05/30/2008 12:00AM

Track vet leaving for Kentucky


MIAMI - The Calder racing community has lost a number of key people since the meet began and will say goodbye to another integral and very popular member of the family later this month when Dr. Mary Scollay packs her bags and heads for Kentucky.

Scollay, who has served as senior track veterinarian at both Calder and Gulfstream Park for the past 13 years, was recently hired to the newly established position of equine medical director by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority. She joins several other longtime Calder employees who have either been relieved of their duties or left to pursue other opportunities over the past several months, including former track president Ken Dunn, who left that position shortly before the beginning of the meet; track superintendent and stall man Steve Cross; clerk of scales Victor Sanchez; and track handicapper Ron Nicoletti.

Scollay, a practicing veterinarian since 1984, recently gained national attention for developing a uniform, ontrack equine injury reporting system that several racetracks across the country began using last summer. The reporting project will help identify the frequency, type, and outcome of racing injuries, using a standardized format to generate statistics. The study is sponsored by the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.

"I've been in discussions about the new position with the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority for a period of a time, but things worked out fairly suddenly and came together rather quickly of late," said Scollay who will spend her last day at Calder on June 15 and begin her new job in Lexington on July 8. "I think it's a tremendous opportunity. There are many things the industry has recognized we need to accomplish, and while I'm a little nervous about doing something quite different than I've been doing the last 20 years, I'm very excited to be a part of all that."

Scollay said that while she has some very specific duties outlined for her when she assumes her new position next month, it's still difficult to sum up the exact nature of the job right now.

"My responsibilities will include being involved in medication testing, determining and identifying withdrawal times, as well as other forms of research projects dealing with the welfare and safety of horses, many of which have come together since the Eight Belles incident in the Derby," she said. "But this is a new position and one which I believe is going to evolve with time."

Scollay also will remain as the coordinator for the injury reporting program and remains excited about the benefits those studies will bring to the industry.

"We have received commitments from more racetracks and are up to about 60 right now," she said. "The idea is to collect as much and the most accurate data as we can, and by the end of the year we should have enough to start pursuing some specific analysis. Clearly, the industry wants this information, and our obligation is to make sure it's the best information we can find."

Scollay said the most difficult part of accepting her new post with the KHRA is leaving her old ones at Calder and Gulfstream.

"Both racetracks have been very good to me for a long time," said Scollay, whose husband, Jim, worked for nearly 40 years as a valet in jockey rooms around the country, including south Florida. "It wasn't an easy decision. Jim and I are going to miss the people and the many friends we've made here in Florida, and it won't be easy to say goodbye. But this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a logical progression, and one which will hopefully give me an opportunity to continue to contribute to the industry for the next 10 or 20 years."

Scollay will be replaced as senior track veterinarian at Calder by Dr. Patricia Marquis.

Cleary honored for fundraising

Robin Cleary, who was paralyzed in a training accident here in 1996, was honored after the first race Friday for going over the $1 million mark in money she's personally raised for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis's spinal cord injury research programs.

"What Robin has done is simply amazing," said Miami Project president Marc Buoniconti. "I know of no other individual who has led such a grass roots effort to raise money for any charity. She is truly our shining star and an example of how much one determined individual can do to make a huge difference in the lives of so many."

Calder presented Cleary, whose husband, Brian, trains horses at Calder, with a check for $25,000 on Friday, putting her over the $1 million mark.

Five riders lose suspension appeals

The local jockeys room will be short four riders next weekend when Juan Carlos Sanchez, Pedro Monterrey Jr., Juan Leyva, and Wilmer Galviz all begin serving three-day suspensions on June 6. All four riders lost appeals to the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering for suspensions recently handed down by the stewards at Gulfstream and Calder.

A fifth jockey, Jose Lopez, also lost his appeal. Lopez is riding at Suffolk Downs in Boston.