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Four Penn National Vets Face Federal Charges

Cross-posted from The Blood Horse »
By FRANK ANGST

At long last, federal charges for racehorse doping and race rigging now includes  veterinarians. Google image.
At long last, federal charges for racehorse doping and race rigging now includes veterinarians. Google image.

In a move that sounded a lot like the other shoe dropping, federal criminal charges have been filed against four racetrack veterinarians involved in treating horses at Penn National Race Course near Grantville, Pa.

Late March 26, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced criminal charges had been filed against racetrack vets Kevin Brophy, 60, of Florida; Fernando Motta, 44, of Lancaster, Pa., Christopher Korte, 43, of Pueblo, Col., and Renee Nodine, 52, of Annville, Pa.

The criminal charges against the vets follow the November 2013 federal indictments of three trainers at Penn National: David Wells, Sam Webb, and Patricia Anne Rogers, as well as clocker Danny Robertson. Wells pled guilty to race-rigging in state court, admitting to numerous race-day medication violations, and as part of his sentence will be incarcerated for three months; Webb’s case was thrown out of federal court; and Rogers’ case continues. Robertson entered a guilty plea in federal court.

In the most recent charges, the four veterinarians are accused of administering drugs to Thoroughbred race horses within 24 hours of when the horses were entered to race. Prosecutors say those administrations violate state law that prohibits the rigging of publicly exhibited contests, violate laws on administering drugs not pursuant to a valid prescription, and constitute misbranding of the prescription animal drugs in violation of federal law.

There may be other shoes to drop in the Penn National case as prosecutors said each of the veterinarians has accepted plea agreements in which they agree to plead guilty and cooperate with the U.S. in a continuing operation. The plea agreements are subject to court approval.

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