Triple Crown vet: Meds for Derby winner warranted

July 14, 2012 

The on-call veterinarian for the Triple Crown races said Friday that Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another did not receive any illegal or unwarranted medication during his attempt to sweep the three-race series.

Dr. Larry Bramlage said records provided to the New York State Racing and Wagering Board don't indicate anything inappropriate occurred involving I'll Have Another.

"No illegal, unprofessional, or medically unwarranted medication was given to this horse," Bramlage said in a statement. "We totally agree with the approach that Dr. Jim Hunt, attending veterinarian, took to get this horse ready for a possible Triple Crown run."

I'll Have Another was retired the day before the June 9 Belmont Stakes with what trainer Doug O'Neill said was an injury to the colt's left front tendon. The New York Times on Wednesday reported that "powerful painkillers" were given to I'll Have Another, and that X-rays taken of the colt's joints before his withdrawal from the Belmont indicate he had osteoarthritis. The newspaper had four veterinarians who did not treat the colt review his vet records. NBC Nightly News aired a similar report on the same day.

Bramlage took issue with those reports. "The misinterpretation of the medical terminology 'osteoarthritis', and the substitution of 'major painkillers' for anti-inflammatory medications is unfair to the uninformed general public," the vet said.

O'Neill said Wednesday that I'll Have Another did not have osteoarthritis.

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