By: Frank Angst
Trainer Patrick Biancone, who has not had a license in Kentucky since 2007 following the discovery of cobra venom in his Keeneland barn, moved a step closer July 19 toward being allowed to saddle a Thoroughbred in Kentucky.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission License Review Committee approved a conditional license Wednesday for Biancone, but will allow the full racing commission to make the final decision. Committee chairman Ken Jackson, a racing commissioner, said because of the “severity of the situation and conditions being considered,” the full racing commission will make that final decision on the license.
That next KHRC meeting is scheduled Aug. 15. The committee noted Biancone will not have to attend that meeting.
The license review committee included two conditions in the terms of Biancone’s license that the trainer agreed to follow.
One condition is that any finding in any jurisdiction of a Class A or Class B medication, or any unclassified substance that would fall in the A or B Class, would result in Biancone’s license in Kentucky being immediately and permanently revoked. After a request for clarification of that condition from Biancone, the committee noted that any revocation because of this condition would occur after due process.
The second condition is that if Biancone is found to falsify any future license application to any other racing state, his license would be revoked in Kentucky. KHRC executive director Marc Guilfoil noted that the second provision was put in place because when Biancone applied for reinstatement of his Kentucky license in 2010, he withdrew the request after then committee chairman Burr Travis raised concerns that Biancone had not included all infractions on his application.
The committee Wednesday noted that based on the information it possessed, Biancone had no medication violations since that 2010 request was withdrawn. Ownerview.com lists no medication positives for Biancone since 2009.
“I’ve raced in California, New York, and Florida with a perfect record,” Biancone said of his racing career since 2010.
If the full commission ultimately reinstates him, Biancone said he does not plan to open a base in Kentucky but would like to have the option of shipping in top horses for stakes conducted in the state. He currently has 28 horses based at Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida.
The committee approved the conditional license, contingent on final approval by the full commission, by a 4-1 vote. Committee member Lesley Howard, also a member of the racing commission, opposed the motion. Howard said she didn’t wish to comment on her vote, preferring to wait until the full commission takes up the issue.
Guilfoil briefly outlined the 2007 finding, noting that KHRC staff searched Biancone’s barn after one of his horses tested positive for caffeine. He said the cobra venom was found in a container with the name of Biancone’s veterinarian, Rodney Stewart, on the box. While the vet’s name was on the box, Guilfoil said Biancone was still subject to sanctions because it was in his barn.
Asked Wednesday if any of his horses had ever been administered cobra venom, Biancone said that never occurred. Biancone said he has not worked with Stewart since the incident and said since that time he has taken measures to improve security of his barns.
In 2016-17 Biancone started horses in Florida and California at Golden Gate Fields, Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park, and Gulfstream Park West. He has not started a horse in Kentucky since the fall of 2007.
From 2005-07, Biancone started horses at all five Kentucky tracks, winning 89 of 412 starts for purse earnings of more than $6.45 million. His horses claimed 13 graded stakes, including a grade 1 victory by Asi Siempre in the 2006 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland.