01/22/2007 12:00AM

Vet faces horse-alcohol rap

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A veterinarian in Nebraska is scheduled to go on trial beginning Wednesday on four counts of tampering with a racehorse, allegedly by administering injections of alcohol to horses before four races at Fonner Park in 2005.

The veterinarian, Jay Stewart, denied wrongdoing in an article in the Omaha World-Herald on Friday. Stewart, 54, did not return a phone message left for him at his clinic on Monday. He faces a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine and one-year jail term on each misdemeanor count.

According to court papers, Stewart is charged with administering intravenous shots of alcohol to horses before four races at Fonner in 2005: the fourth race on Feb. 20, the sixth race on Feb. 27, the fifth race on March 11, and the ninth race on April 9.

Dr. Scot Waterman, the executive director of the national Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, said that alcohol is "anecdotally" given to horses as a calming agent.

"Obviously, this is not something that has been studied in any kind of controlled environment," Waterman said.

"The theory is that if you have a horse that's a little jittery or is acting up, it will calm the horse down."

An investigation into Stewart's practices began in 2005 by the state racing commission after a former employee at Stewart's clinic turned over records that allegedly showed the prerace alcohol administrations.

The former employee also provided an affidavit saying that she believed that Stewart administered the shots to 75 horses during a six-month period in 2005.A veterinarian in Nebraska is scheduled to go on trial beginning Wednesday on four counts of tampering with a racehorse, allegedly by administering injections of alcohol to horses before four races at Fonner Park in 2005.

The veterinarian, Jay Stewart, denied wrongdoing in an article in the Omaha World-Herald on Friday. Stewart, 54, did not return a phone message left for him at his clinic on Monday. He faces a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine and one-year jail term on each misdemeanor count.

According to court papers, Stewart is charged with administering intravenous shots of alcohol to horses before four races at Fonner in 2005: the fourth race on Feb. 20, the sixth race on Feb. 27, the fifth race on March 11, and the ninth race on April 9.

Dr. Scot Waterman, the executive director of the national Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, said that alcohol is "anecdotally" given to horses as a calming agent.

"Obviously, this is not something that has been studied in any kind of controlled environment," Waterman said.

"The theory is that if you have a horse that's a little jittery or is acting up, it will calm the horse down."

An investigation into Stewart's practices began in 2005 by the state racing commission after a former employee at Stewart's clinic turned over records that allegedly showed the prerace alcohol administrations.

The former employee also provided an affidavit saying that she believed that Stewart administered the shots to 75 horses during a six-month period in 2005.