Vinnie and Teresa Viola’s St. Elias Stables will sponsor a research project to help develop alternate methods for detection of bisphosphonates in Thoroughbreds, the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation announced today. This gift was made following an appeal by Grayson, the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium (RMTC), and the American Association of Equine Practitioners in June 2019 for research proposals to investigate bisphosphonate administration in racehorses and in young racing prospects intended for sale at public auction. This research will be based at the University of California-Davis K.L. Maddy Equine Pharmacology Lab.
“The use of bisphosphonates on young racehorses has been a topic of concern in recent years, which is why we made a special call for research proposals last spring,” said Dell Hancock, chairman of Grayson. “We are thankful to Vinnie and Teresa for their support of this project and for recognizing the importance of this research in promoting equine safety and welfare.”
The Violas started purchasing racehorses in the late 1990s and eventually formed St. Elias Stables, which, together with Teresa Viola Racing Stables, has won the Kentucky Derby with Always Dreaming, the Breeders’ Cup Classic with Vino Rosso, and the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with Liam’s Map, among other major stakes races. Vinnie was elected to The Jockey Club’s board of stewards in August 2019.
“As owners of Thoroughbred racehorses, we believe that medications that are harmful to a young horse’s skeletal system should never be administered off-label and that buyers should be able to test for the presence of such substances when purchasing horses,” said Vinnie Viola. “We are proud to support research that will enhance detection methods.”
Grayson’s slate of research projects for 2020 includes a study regarding bisphosphonates, “Bisphosphonates and Fatal Musculoskeletal Injury.” Based at Cornell University, this study is being supported by the RMTC and the Klein Family Foundation.