Horse Racing

Hot Rod Charlie Timeline shows KHRC done quickly


On October 4, three days later Hot Rod Charlie won Lukas Classic Stakes (G2) at Churchill DownsKentucky Equestrian Commission managers opened an investigation the same day trainer Eric Reed submitted photos where he said Hot Rod Charlie was wearing toe clips in violation of federal safety regulations. state.

At that time, Reed, the runner-up coach, had yet to file a formal complaint. Rich Strike , second by a leader in Lukas. “He forwarded four photos to me via text and asked me to review the situation,” Chief Stewardess Barbara Borden wrote in a report before recommending to the Equestrian Integrity and Equities Authority that no action was taken. which action is taken.

According to a timeline provided in response to an open records request submitted by BloodHorse to KHRC, after Borden received the pictures she had taken that day with her manager Brooks Becraft. At 1:45 p.m. (all ET) that afternoon, she contacted Dr. Bruce Howard, KHRC’s Director of Equine Health, and asked him to come Keeneland.

Fifteen minutes later, according to Borden’s timeline, she phoned trainer Doug O’Neill, when he told her which cage had Hot Rod Charlie. The timeline says Borden didn’t tell O’Neill why she was calling, only that someone needed to be at the stables in five minutes so the horse could be examined.

Howard then heads to the barn, examines Hot Rod Charlie, and reports that there is no traction device on his shoe, which Howard says is worn enough to indicate they’ve been on the horse “for quite some time.” .

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Around 4 p.m., Borden called O’Neill again, telling him the situation and asking for the most recent bill. According to Borden, it shows, horseman Dean Balut was brought to Kentucky from California to polish his horse a month before the Lukas Classic.

At 4pm that same day, Borden contacted Coady Photography, the Churchill Downs racetrack photography service, and asked for all of the pictures of Hot Rod Charlie taken before, during and after the race without disclosing the reason. do. The first story on this was posted on Horse Racing Nation at 7:01 that evening. Borden wrote that she received the photos from Coady between 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The photos Reed sent to Borden were taken by Eclipse Sportswire and appear to show a protrusion on the front of Hot Rod Charlie’s forefoot. Photos submitted by Coady Photography to management that were released by KHRC in the open records request are not.

The next day, October 5, Howard returned to Hot Rod Charlie’s cage with Becraft, KHRC veterinarian, Dr. Molly Metz, and Kentucky blacksmith Arthur Tearl. Several photos were taken after Howard said the shoes were identical to the shoes he had seen the day before.

Head flight attendant Barbara Borden reads a statement after being disqualified from Maximum Security after the 145th run of the Kentucky Derby (GI).  Photo by: Chad B. Harmon
Photo: Chad B. Harmon

Chief Stewardess Barbara Borden

On October 6, according to Borden’s investigation timeline, “photos from all sources” and further invoices were reviewed by Borden and manager Ronald Herbstreit at Keeneland. The next day, all three managers interviewed Balut by phone.

On Saturday, October 8, the administrators sent a brief summary of their investigation to HISA officials, and Borden prepared a separate report, which, after noting, prepared a separate report. evidence has been gathered, she writes, “managers determined there was sufficient evidence to confirm. HRC (Hot Rod Charlie) raced to comply with HISA Rule #2276 at Churchill Downs on Oct. 10- 1-22.”

By Monday, Balut was in Keeneland, where he took off Hot Rod Charlie’s shoes, which had been bagged and tagged for evidence, in the presence of KHRC investigators Paul Brooker and Shannon Garner . Brooker delivered the shoes to Borden two days later, and she delivered them to the HISA attorney the next day. In the meantime, Borden submitted all the photographs and evidence in her possession to HISA.

Balut said in his interview, which was recorded, the shoes had his toes hit the ground before they were applied to Hot Rod Charlie.

American Farriers Magazine reported in May that there was a shortage of shoes without hooks due to additional demand caused by impending HISA rules banning wearing on all surfaces at all racetracks. According to that source, HISA has delayed implementing its shoe polish regulations.

Section 2276 of the HISA regulations states, “(a) Except for full rims 2 mm or less above the ground surface of the Horseshoe, towing devices are prohibited on the Horseshoe front and rear during racing and practice. on a dirt track or on a mixed track (B ) Traction devices are prohibited from being used on the Horseshoe front and back during practice and racing (C) Traction devices include but are not limited to rims, toe clips, bends, foot covers, and patches.”

Management’s finding of “sufficient evidence” that Hot Rod Charlie’s shoes did not violate the regulation has legal implications. In the 1998 case of Burch v. Taylor’s Pharmacy, the Kentucky Court of Appeals set criteria for consideration of appeals against administrative actions, in that case a decision by the Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Commission.

“The judicial review of the acts of an administrative body is related to the question of arbitrariness,” the court wrote. “The factual findings of an administrative body supported by substantial evidence of defiance must be accepted as binding by the court under review. The court cannot supersede the opinion of the court. on the weight of the evidence presented by the Commission.”

Byron King also contributed to this story.

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