The Curious Case of Early Voting and the Vet Who Helped Cure Him

Dr. Paddy O'Casaigh | Courtesy


To many horsepeople and fans, the news that 2022 GI Preakness S. winner Early Voting (Gun Runner) had been cured of a syndrome that initially–apparently–spelled doom to his stud career was a complete surprise. To New Zealand-born veterinarian and scientist Dr. Padraig (Paddy) O'Casaigh, it was just another day at the office

O'Casaigh, the 'brain and chief researcher/inventor' behind the 'unique' product Chaperonze (his birthplace a contributor to this intentional misspell), has treated 'about 100' stallions with breeding problems.

“My experience in my 35 years,” he said, “is that I've never had one go back and never had one that couldn't be fixed. You find with these horses, once you've turned him around, you've turned them around.”

Consider his record intact.

It wasn't that Early Voting was lacking in fertility–as was reported in Thursday's TDN, the stallion successfully got 120 mares from his first book in foal at Coolmore in his first year in 2023 (though it is uncertain how many mares in total were covered). But it was later discovered that Early Voting was suffering from Anejaculatory Syndrome–simply put, an inability to ejaculate.

O'Casaigh, 56, has by his own accounting has flown upwards of four million miles in his lifetime and maintains offices from Lexington to Bangkok. He attended Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand, did an internship at Hagyard/Davidson/McGee in Lexington and then spent the better part of six years at the University of California, Davis, completing a residency in equine reproduction from 1989-1992 and a Ph. D. in comparative pathology. He was a post-doctoral fellow in the school's Department of Veterinary Medical Population Health and Reproduction from 1992-1995.

Having worked with the likes of Nureyev and El Gran Senor and given his success in helping cure horses of problems similar to that of Early Voting, it wasn't a complete surprise when his services were requested by the consortium of owners that took over from Coolmore late last year.

O'Casaigh makes use of a product Chaperonze manufactures that contains chaperone proteins. The process involves using emu oil sourced from FDA distributors to create a protein transfer oil that can carry the chaperone proteins across the skin barrier and into the bloodstream. The process calls for the admixing of freeze-dried, stable Chaperonze powder, extracted from ovine placenta, with the oil.

Applied topically, chaperone proteins can find their way to damaged and injured cells that are in need of repair and once Chaperonze has entered the cells, it causes repair, rejuvenation and regeneration. And it seems to have done the trick for the now 5-year-old stallion.

O'Casaigh said Early Voting has been at his new home at Taylor Made for 'about a month.'

“The Coolmore group have been fantastic about everything and the only reason to taking him over [to Taylor Made] is because I have an association with them and they have a much-smaller, family-run operation, and with something like this, it's going to be a different environment for the horse and for me.”

O'Casaigh reports that Early Voting was first bred to test mares and more recently to outside mares and that he has done so successfully in terms of his ability to ejaculate. His first Taylor Made-bred mares are due to be scanned in about a week's time.

And it's clear the work he has done to date has been impactful and he hopes will continue to be.

“It's not just species-specific,” O'Casaigh said. “If we can help endangered species or humans, alleviate disease, help horses, that's what science is, right?”

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