While Doo Dominate was a racehorse with plenty of speed, a
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ While Doo Dominate was a racehorse with plenty of speed, a veterinarian who examined the 2-year-old quarter horse last summer didn’t like what he found in the colt’s left knee.
Dr. Bob Story was asked by a Texas horseman who was considering buying the colt to check out Doo Dominate last July. Story did a fluoroscope examination and found damage in the left knee. He advised against the purchase.
``At that stage, he had some carpel damage. It wasn’t enough to keep him from running, but when you’re going to pay $75,000 or $85,000, you want him to be perfect,″ Story said.
Six weeks later, Doo Dominate broke both front legs running the $2 million All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs. He was humanely destroyed.
Story was among witnesses testifying Monday at a hearing before state racing commissioner Bruce Geary. Geary is serving as a hearing officer as the state presents its case against veterinarian Howard L. Mitchell, Doo Dominate’s trainer Antonio Hernandez and owner Osvaldo Rodriguez.
Geary said he would consider the evidence and issue a recommendation to the full commission at a later date.
A hearing for Hernandez and Rodriguez is scheduled next month. Rodriguez, president of the Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, newspaper Diario De Juarez, has denied allegations that he knew the horse was unfit to run the race, where the winner earns $1 million.
The commission has alleged an investigation turned up evidence the horse was entered in the futurity with a fractured left knee.
Commission investigators also said they found traces in the horse of the drug Mepivacaine _ a numbing pain-killer that is banned once a horse is entered in a race or within 72 hours of race day.
Monday’s hearing focused on Mitchell. The Bristow, Okla., vet was not licensed to practice in New Mexico but treated Doo Dominate several days before the futurity on Labor Day.
Trainer Ben Torres said he allowed Mitchell to work on Doo Dominate in Torres’ barn in the days leading up to the futurity.
Mitchell was not present at the hearing. Albuquerque attorney Kenneth Martinez appeared briefly and asked that the charges against Mitchell be dismissed. Martinez argued Mitchell already had surrendered his New Mexico horse owner’s license to the commission and there was no need for the hearing.
But state Assistant Attorney General Victoria Amada argued Mitchell should not be able to avoid prosecution simply by turning in his owner’s license.
``A license holder cannot avoid penalties or fines by merely surrendering their license,″ Amada said.
Geary took the motion for dismissal under advisement.
Torres testified he observed Mitchell administer acupuncture and electronic treatments to Doo Dominate three to four days before the Sept. 5 futurity.
``Instead of him going to Antonio’s barn, they would bring the horse to my barn, where his (Mitchell’s) equipment was already set up,″ Torres said.
Torres, along with trainers Larry Keiter and Gerald Marr, testified Mitchell also had treated horses they owned or were training last summer at Ruidoso Downs. All three said they did not know Mitchell was unlicensed to practice in New Mexico.
Torres, who said he had trained horses in the past for Mitchell, said he had obtained an owner’s license for Mitchell, which the veterinarian used to gain access to the stable area.
Bruce Brinkley, a state steward at Ruidoso Downs, testified stewards warned Mitchell last July not to practice veterinary medicine if he wasn’t licensed in New Mexico.
That warning came after an employee at the track’s test barn, Helen Carroll, became suspicious of Mitchell and called the state Board of Veterinary Medicine Examiners.
Told that Mitchell was not licensed as a vet in New Mexico, Carroll then called the Ruidoso stewards.
Carroll testified she became concerned because she observed Mitchell visiting barns at the track but noticed he had not filed with the test barn the daily treatment reports required from veterinarians.
``He had not asked for any forms,″ Carroll said.
The state also introduced into evidence Mitchell’s treatment record for Doo Dominate for Aug. 31 to Sept. 3. The record, Amada said, showed Doo Dominate was injected with several drugs in the week preceding the race.