Louisville Medicine Volume 69, Issue 9 - Page 30

( continued from page 27 ) foundation gave a million dollars contingent on others ’ donating at least $ 10,000 per year to match , and that tactic has enabled the research to continue .
That night , Dr . Lavin asked Dr . Polk to come on to the Grayson board , and full of Derby spirit he agreed , having evaluated innumerable research proposals . The party talk was all about how to find out who was doing what that hurt racehorses , and how to stop it . Ned Bonnie , the attorney for Peter Fuller who owned Dancer ’ s Image , hooked him up with Nancy Kelly , secretary of the Jockey Club , who gave him Ogden ( Dinny ) Phipps ’ number . Dr . Polk called him and said , “ We have got to do a proper investigation of what actually goes on in these barns that is hurting horses , and hurting racing , and we can start funding it but we need the full support of the Jockey Club .”
Mr . Phipps immediately agreed and asked Dr . Polk to work with the investigation . By Preakness Day , he with others had already set up a committee . They interviewed at least 150 people and eventually found “ a young man whose family-owned chunks of Manhattan .” He had bought all the New York / New Jersey harness racetracks , and had immediately wondered why the same four trainers had been winning all the races without - imagine - a single positive drug test . So , he hired a former FBI agent who walked all around the backside of these tracks and “ found more syringes than hay ” there . The young man emulated Tom Meeker and added to his stall rental contracts for trainers : “ You are on private property and I as the owner have the right to exclude you for any reason at my discretion .” He banned the top four and behold , all sorts of trainers started winning races at his tracks .
Churchill used this rule for Bob Baffert after the Medina Spirit Derby .
The committee ’ s goal was to set up federal regulation with uniformity across all states , for swift justice based on scientific principles of attaining and maintaining thoroughbred safety . They have found massive overdosing of thyroid meds to healthy horses , and tons of steroid use - they have set the tolerable dose of betamethasone at zero . Toe grabs have been re-sized for safety . The US Anti-Doping Agency was to be the testing and enforcement arm for this but backed out this January . The search is ongoing to find a new regulatory partner , one with bared teeth and full resolve , with federal jurisdiction , to fulfill this Horseracing Safety and Integrity Act ( HISA ) passed at the end of 2020 and set to take effect this July .
The committee found Charlie Scheeler , former lead counsel for Sen . George Mitchell ’ s cleanup of major league baseball , to head its enforcement efforts under the law . Mr . Scheeler favors tiered penalties ( worse for repeat offenders ) and he was quoted in the Paulick Report that “ Some folks look at it as not if I should play fair or not , but as a very cold-blooded cost / benefit situation . The public has got to know that the rules will be the same for everyone .” There are to be no drugs of any kind on race day ; Lasix use is getting phased out ; there will be both in and out of competition unannounced testing .
Dr . Polk was elected a Steward of The Jockey Club in 2013 ( there are three ; nowadays one is always a woman ). In 2016 , he inquired about a $ 150,000 budget item called Five Stones , and found it was the code name for the five retired CIA agents who had gotten the goods for the SDNY on the doping bad guys ( five of the underlings caught are going to testify against the big fish , he hears ).
When David went up against Goliath , he had five stones in his bag .
When Dr . Polk signed the operating agreement years ago between Norton / Children ’ s and UofL Surgery , he and Wade Mountz had sat down with ham sandwiches and ironed it out in an hour . He hopes this sort of goodwill continues throughout the downtown medical center .
When I left Dr . Polk , he was laughing . He and secretary Kelly Curry were chortling over numerous phone calls to tracks ; these had just resulted in him getting paid what they ’ d owed him . I just loved watching him beam all over .
Dr . Barry is an internist and Associate Professor of Medicine ( Gratis Faculty ) at the University of Louisville School of Medicine , currently retired and mulling her next moves .