By Frank Angst
Trainer Tevis McCauley will have to answer to multiple charges, including allegations of “milkshaking” and medication rule violations, following an investigation by Kentucky Horse Racing Commission staff.
After an executive session during its regular meeting Monday, March 23, the KHRC voted to charge McCauley with numerous violations following the staff investigation. One of the investigation’s listed allegations cites Kentucky’s rule prohibiting “milkshaking,” a term used to describe a horse that has been forcefully administered a mixture of carbonate, sugar, and other substances in an attempt to enhance race performance. A person close to the investigation said the charges also include illegal administration of medications on race day.
McCauley said the charges stem from a disgruntled former employee who after he was fired made various false allegations against the stable. McCauley, who said the morning of March 24 he had not yet heard from the KHRC, is looking forward to telling his side of the story at an expected upcoming hearing.
“They searched my barns multiple times; they searched my trailer and truck multiple times and they never found anything,” McCauley said. “They watched my barn pretty hard and heavy and even searched it several times and never found anything. I’ve never had anything to hide.”
The commission noted that it has the ability to suspend or revoke McCauley’s license for these alleged violations and the other allegations, which include pari-mutuel fraud, misrepresentation of facts in the sale of a horse, conduct against the best interests of racing, misrepresentations in a license application, violations of Kentucky’s scratch rule, and failure to report that a filly or mare has been covered by a stallion prior to being entered in a race.
McCauley said his staff has been interviewed by regulatory investigators and he also has talked with investigators. He said the investigation began early last year.
“It’s basically a witch hunt following something an irate former employee told them,” McCauley said.
As for the milkshaking charge, McCauley said it involves a horse at Ellis Park who received an electrolyte treatment through a tube. While the horse was entered that day, McCauley said the horse had a fever and was going to be scratched.
“I had a horse in at Ellis and the day before the race the horse came up with a temperature,” McCauley said. “I had no intentions of running the horse; I was going to scratch the horse. The morning that the horse was supposed to run, my vet was in there tubing the horse with electrolytes and lactinates. I wasn’t going to run the horse; I scratched the horse once the racing office opened.”
McCauley, who was not at Ellis Park that day, said the stable was well aware it was being monitored and did not break any rules with the treatment.
“(KHRC staff) saw exactly what was put in the horse and it was electrolytes and lactinates,” McCauley said. “They tried to make a huge deal out of that.”
The commission is handling the case, as opposed to the stewards, because the allegations stem from a front-end investigation. Stewards typically levy sanctions against horsemen following positive drug tests that indicate violations, but the McCauley allegations follow a KHRC investigation of the stable.
At Monday’s meeting, commissioner Foster Northrop recused himself from discussions of the case and the vote because the racetrack veterinarian previously had performed work for McCauley’s stable.
According to regulatory rulings listed at OwnerView.com, the most recent medication violation for McCauley came in December 2012, an overage for flunixin and phenylbutazone in 2013 at Turfway Park that resulted in a 10-day suspension and $1,000 fine.
Since 2009, McCauley’s stable has won 126 races from 662 starts for purse earnings of $2,865,680. Last year he saddled Unlimited Equine’s Purely Hot to victory in the $159,300 Whimsical Stakes (Can-III) at Woodbine. McCauley has had 13 starts this season with three wins, including a recent score with Ron McCauley’s Rockin Ronda in a March 19 maiden claiming race at Gulfstream Park.
At Kentucky tracks McCauley has won 34 races from 236 starts for stable purse earnings of $830,057.
Below are the KHRC rules the commission alleges McCauley violated.
1. 810 KAR 1:018 Section 20(7). “Without the prior permission of the commission veterinarian or his designee, based on standard veterinary practice for recognized conditions, a nasogastric tube which is longer than six (6) inches shall not be used for the administration of any substance within twenty-four (24) hours prior to post time of the race in which the horse is entered.”
2. 810 KAR 1:018 Section 15(3). “A trainer shall prevent the administration of a drug, medication, substance, or metabolic derivative that may constitute a violation of this administrative regulation.”
3. 810 KAR 1:025 Section 14(1)(j) and (n). “…