Seven Months Later, No Consequences For Oklahoma Horsemen Violating 24-Hour Medication Rule

POSTED ON  |  04-01-2019

There's an old saying in politics, originating I think in the Watergate scandal, that the cover-up is always worse than the crime. It's a phrase that may as well have evolved in horse racing. When I recently reviewed 2018's top stories on the Paulick Report, I was reminded of Joe Gorajec's dogged investigation into post-race drug test detections in Pennsylvania that didn't result in positives or regulatory action. (You can find those here, here, and here.) But Pennsylvania isn't the only place where regulators have been presented with evidence of rule violations (or potential rule violations) and appeared to ignore it.

More than six months ago, we brought you the story of Quarter Horse trainer Clinton Crawford, who entered ten horses on the June 2 card at Remington Park. On the evening of June 1, members of the independent AQHA Integrity Team observed a veterinarian in Crawford's stalls, treating horses inside the 24-hour pre-race window for the June 2 races.

Members of the Integrity Team gathered photographic and video evidence of the veterinarian's activities. They interviewed the veterinarian, trying to understand what he was treating the horses with and why. The Team provided this information to the stewards on the night of June 1.

In other jurisdictions, a trainer whose horses were treated within 24 hours of a race might be summarily suspended, his horses scratched, and trainer and veterinarian marched off the grounds until a hearing could take place. None of that happened here. Three horses would eventually be scratched from the early part of Remington's June 2 card, leaving seven Crawford runners, including 2-year-old Special Candy High, who suffered a fatal breakdown in the Grade 1 Heritage Place Futurity.

Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission Executive Director Kelly Cathey told me in June via email that the OHRC's investigation was ongoing, and no hearings were scheduled at the time – including, I later learned, any sort of hearing or interview with the veterinarian involved. I have checked in with Cathey on the status of the case in July, August, September, October, and December. Each time he has told me the investigation is ongoing, and that no hearings are scheduled.

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