Delaware Horsemen Face Penalties for Unauthorized Shockwave Therapy




An owner and a trainer at Delaware Park are both appealing $1,000 fines and six-month suspensions for “unauthorized use of shockwave therapy” stemming from an investigation into the catastrophic injury and euthanization of a 1-2 ship-in favorite that was plummeting in class off a four-month layoff this past summer.

The Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission (DTRC) issued the rulings Nov. 25 against owner David Neilson and trainer Anthony Pecoraro. DTRC executive director John Wayne told TDN Monday that because the penalties were appealed, stays have been granted pending an Apr. 15, 2020, hearing on the matter.

Glencairn (Candy Ride {Arg}) was owned by East Coast Partners and trained by Pecoraro when the 5-year-old gelding ran in the sixth race Aug. 5, a $5,000 claimer. Prior to entry, Glencairn had not started since Apr. 6 at Aqueduct, when he ran twelfth and last for a $25,000 tag. He was owned by East Coast Partners for both of those starts but had switched stables from Gary Gullo in New York to Pecoraro in Delaware.

Glencairn was heavily favored in his Delaware debut but “went wrong in the right front heading into the first turn, was quickly pulled up and booted [with a medical support device], and was vanned off,” according to the Equibase chart. Wayne confirmed that the horse had to be euthanized because of its injury.

“Shockwave therapy is permitted as long as it is done by a practicing veterinarian, and also there is a 10-day waiting period between the time a horse is treated with shock wave therapy to the time that it can breeze,” Wayne explained. “Every horse that has a fatal injury [in Delaware], they go through a mortality review. And every horse that has to be humanely destroyed is sent to New Bolton Center for necropsy. That's standard procedure by the commission.

“The mortality review has to do with interviewing the trainer, checking the vet records, checking the past performances, talking to the riders,” Wayne continued. “And all of our vets do pre-race inspections. So before that horse went out on the racetrack, they considered him racing sound.”

When asked at what point in the process the allegedly unauthorized shockwave therapy came up, Wayne said, “During that investigation, it was discovered that the horse had received shock wave therapy, and that's the part that is pending before the commission.”

Wayne told TDN that the relatively long gap between the issuance of the rulings and the appeal hearing was mutually agreed upon by DTRC regulators and the two penalized horsemen. The Delaware Park meet has concluded for the year, he said, and “our stewards are not back until April of next year, and they would have to be the ones that testify.”

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