Leading Woodbine Trainer McKnight, Veterinarian Fined For Shock Wave Therapy Violations

POSTED ON  |  18-11-2018

Shockwave horse
Veterinarian Brian Van Arem and Woodbine's leading trainer, Norman McKnight, were sanctioned earlier this year by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario for violating rules that prohibit extracorporeal shock wave therapy within 96 hours of a race. Van Arem was fined $7,500 Sept. 18 and McKnight was hit with a $5,000 fine Oct. 5. Neither was suspended, though both had probationary conditions put on their license for a year beginning in early October.

The Woodbine Entertainment Group that conducts racing at the Toronto track doesn't think the penalty against Van Arem is enough. The company has filed an appeal with Ontario's Horse Racing Appeal Panel asking – according to Daily Racing Form – for the veterinarian to be suspended six months from the Sept. 18 ruling date or 90 days from  April 20, 2019, when Woodbine kicks off its annual race meeting.

Woodbine did not file an appeal seeking a stiffer penalty for McKnight.

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is a relatively new technology, a non-invasive treatment used to stimulate healing of horses with soft-tissue or bone injuries or lameness. But, according to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the therapy also has an analgesic affect that can last up to four days.

Woodbine was conducting surveillance on McKnight's barn when it was discovered that two horses entered to race on the Aug. 1 program – Brighter Ideas and Laelia – had received shock wave therapy two days earlier on July 30. After stewards were notified of the situation, both horses were scratched.

When Van Arem and McKnight were called in to meet with the stewards and notified that the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario would conduct an investigation into the allegations, the veterinarian and trainer volunteered that a third horse, Constantino, entered to race Aug. 3, also received shock wave therapy in the same time frame. Constantino was scratched as well.

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