On December 10, Sage Valley dropped dead of an “apparent cardiac arrest” in a race at Aqueduct. At five, he was only just reaching the tail-end of puberty. Turns out, there was a drug “violation,” which may or may not have contributed to the horse’s premature death. This week, Sage Valley’s trainer, Rudy Rodriguez, received the following “punishment” from the NYS Gaming Commission:
“You are fined $3000.00 because on December 10, 2014, the horse ‘Sage Valley’ that you trained competed in the 8th race at Aqueduct Racetrack after having been administered glycopyrrolate (e.g. robinul) within 96 hours of the scheduled post time of its race in violation of New York State Gaming Commission rule 4043.2 (g) (6) and 4043.4. Having waived your right of appeal the fine is reduced to $1500.00. This penalty is reflective of the findings from the investigation.”
Apparently, the vet, Greg Bennett, was fined the same amount. In a statement, Bennett said, “Rudy had quite a few horses coughing and snotting in the barn, and he was near them. I was under the assumption it was a 72-hour [drug]. It was an error in judgment on my part…” “Coughing and snotting” barn-mates.
By the way, Rudy Rodriguez is no stranger to the Commission, having just been fined and suspended in February for violations involving two different horses. In all, I count 13 suspensions in NY over the course of Rudy’s career. 13. And yet still allowed around horses. Surprised? Shouldn’t be – this is, after all, horseracing.