08/28/2007 12:00AM

Veterinarian to seek stay of suspension


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Dr. Rod Stewart, the suspended racetrack veterinarian, turned over records to a three-steward panel in Kentucky on Tuesday and plans to request a stay of his suspension, his attorney said.

Stewart appeared before the panel Tuesday for an initial hearing into the results of a search of his truck on June 22 at Keeneland Racecourse, according to the attorney, Karen Murphy. Stewart has been suspended by stewards in Kentucky for failing to comply with an order to turn over veterinary records.

Murphy said Stewart turned over records at the hearing and plans to request a stay of his ban while he appeals the stewards' order to suspend him. While Murphy would not discuss specifics about the barn search, she said Stewart was unable to respond to the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority's request for records previously because he was in his native Australia and also because the authority did not provide any specifics about which records were required.

"They didn't put anything in writing, they asked for all records related to all medications in all states for all horses he has treated," Murphy said. "There were no parameters whatsoever. And when I asked them to clarify, I received no response."

It was unclear what records were turned over to the panel Tuesday or whether they would satisfy the stewards' request. Racing authority officials did not respond to phone messages late Tuesday.

Stewart's truck was searched at the same time investigators from the authority conducted a search of Patrick Biancone's barns. According to a source close to the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the search turned up a vial of the crystalline form of cobra venom, a prohibited substance in horse racing that can be used as a powerful painkiller.

Murphy declined to discuss whether cobra venom was found during the search in either Biancone's barn or Stewart's truck.

Stewart was suspended by summary order of the stewards on Aug. 16. Because racing jurisdictions share suspension records, Stewart has been unable to practice veterinary medicine since the suspension was issued, Murphy said.

Murphy said she will notify the authority in writing on Wednesday that Stewart is requesting a stay of the suspension while he appeals the order. Stays are typically granted by racing commissions while appeals are pending.

Murphy said Biancone was not asked to appear at Tuesday's hearing. According to Murphy, the stewards will conduct separate hearings for the two.

Racing authority officials have refused to discuss when Biancone's hearing will be held, citing Kentucky's rules of racing.