03/30/2007 12:00AM

Vodka-shot case dropped for lack of witnesses


Prosecutors in Nebraska have dropped charges against a veterinarian accused of administering prerace shots of vodka to racehorses at Fonner Park, citing an inability to locate witnesses.

Dr. Jay Stewart, who runs a clinic in Grand Island, Neb., and practices at Fonner Park, had been charged with four misdemeanor counts of tampering with a publicly exhibited contest. Prosecutors brought the charges against Stewart after a former employee of his clinic told the state racing commission that she had witnessed the veterinarian give 60 injections of vodka to horses over a six-month period in 2005.

Stewart did not return a phone call on Friday, but he told the Associated Press that he had never injected any horse with vodka. Veterinarians have said that injections of vodka or other forms of alcohol could have a calming effect on a horse.

Prosecutors had sought the testimony of a rider and two horse owners to substantiate the claims. None of the three potential witnesses could be located, prosecutors said.