Louisville Medicine Volume 69, Issue 9 - Page 29

there are many interns at the bottom and only two to three chiefs at the top , causing a huge scramble , and breaking a lot of hearts along the way .) These top-notch residents were grateful , and he felt so lucky to snatch them up . They brought a strong work ethic and competitive spirit to the program , setting the best possible example for the incoming interns . Our program was never to be a pyramid program in his tenure : all that training invested in each resident would pay off for the next batch .
He feels extraordinarily lucky to have Dr . Kelly McMasters as Chief and says only a couple of times a year is he able to impart new information to Dr . Kelly - he knows the deep background to the rare issue that Dr . McMasters does not . He fought for Dr . Kelly ’ s appointment with then-President Ramsay who “ thought he was too young .” He ’ s not taken any salary from UofL since Dr . McMasters took over , but he maintains his home base there in the department . It ’ s lined with books , several of them his , and others from his colleagues and trainees , some still the seminal texts of his youth .
He was also lucky , he said , to have met the late Prince Philip . He once gave a “ visiting fireman ” talk at the Royal College of Edinburgh , which was established in 1505 . Prince Philip spoke the same day and explained that the “ Edinburgh gig ” was the first patronage he had taken on since marrying his queen . He had placed a plastic Sainsbury ’ s bag on the podium ( everyone was staring at it ) and from it he pulled the Royal College ’ s silver salver . He ’ d felt so honored by this gift from the College that he always kept this on his bedside table .
Queen Elizabeth has visited Kentucky several times . Dr . Polk once met her , on a day when his most beloved horse , Mrs . Revere , had run fourth in a race she ’ d watched . ( He didn ’ t know , however , if the Queen had bet on a horse with such a Revolutionary name .)
His best luck , he said , came with recruiting Dr . J . David Richardson . Dr Polk had appreciated the incredibly high quality of research Dr . Richardson was doing at the University of Kentucky and after Dr . Richardson had worked awhile in San Antonio , Dr . Polk sought him out at a surgical meeting . He made a pitch and invited him home to Kentucky , with paid moving expenses , and a long , fruitful friendship was born .
Dr . Richardson , a second cousin to Woody Stephens , the acclaimed thoroughbred trainer , also partnered with him owning racehorses . Dr . Polk noted that his forebears in Mississippi had walked behind a mule to plow . He has loved horses lifelong , and he studied breeding as a high school student . He got to Harvard Medical School only at the urging of Dr . Arthur Guyton ( yes that Dr . Guyton of physiology fame ) after his exasperated chemistry teacher finally convinced him to bestir himself to walk across the
Drs . Polk and Galandiuk with esteemed racing attorney Edward S . Bonnie ( Ned )
golf course to meet the professor . Dr . Polk had already refused three times to accept an interview at Harvard : only 19 years old that fall , he simply could not envision moving that far north . Harvard , at the intercession of his teacher , agreed to let Dr . Guyton interview him . Dr . Guyton sternly ordered him to grasp his future and make Mississippi proud ; he owed it to the state ; it would change his life , even though it was far away in a different world . It was a Go North Young Man scenario , and the young Hiram gave in .
At Harvard , he was the New England correspondent for the Racing Form . He ’ d have to hurry to Suffolk Downs on buses and streetcars , race back , write his piece and wire it in . Later , on the faculty down in Miami , he met up with Lou Cavalaris and bought his first horse , Geiger Counter . Mr . Cavalaris also trained Dancer ’ s Image , the Derby winner who was disqualified for Bute the year before it became legal . He was an ornery horse who would do anything except what you asked him to do . But he got along well with Geiger Counter so for $ 20,000 , Dr . Polk leased Geiger Counter for two months only to Lou as the training partner for Dancer ’ s Image , and the other ten months he ’ d race him as his own . Finally , he got claimed , and then became Bobby Frankel ’ s first stakes winner .
Dr . Polk has long worked to improve safety in thoroughbred racing . After the 2008 Derby , where Eight Belles had broken her front legs right after winning , the famed equine veterinarian Dr . Gary Lavin was hosting a party at the River Valley Club . In 1999 Dr . Lavin had worked with the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation to create their Research Advisory Committee , which combines academic vets with practicing ones to examine research proposals from all over . Its members convene annually to study and award grants to the studies best designed to improve safety and health for racehorses . In 2004 , Mr . Jack Oxley , who owned Monarchos , devised the Oxley Challenge to fund this research : his
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