Posted: Sep 10, 2010 12:40 PM by Melissa Canone
Updated: Sep 10, 2010 12:42 PM
More than a dozen trainers and horse owners at Evangeline Downs are suing the Louisiana Racing Commision. Don Stemmans has owned thousands of racing horses since the 1960s.
He said, "I've never seen a racing commission, ever like this, do anything like this."
Stemmans is one of many horse owners who have lost faith in the judgment of state veterinarians appointed by the Louisiana Racing Commission.
Nicholas Bellard is representing more than a dozen horse owners and trainers in the lawsuit.
"Over the last year and half or so they've been arbitrarily placing inordinately large number of horses on what is called the vet list, what's called the injured reserve-- they can't run," Bellard said.
Every time a horse is placed on the vets lists, anyone from owners to trainers, jockeys and even groomers lose out on money.
The dozens of horse owners and trainers say they are tired of spending money training their horses, only to have a state vet say their horse is unfit to compete. Stemmans owned 36 horses three months ago.
He said, "I sold them all. I have maybe five or six horses left. I can't afford to have to wait, to have to get a horse ready to run, it costs money."
Another horse owner, Lee Young, said "it costs me two races, both at 100,000."
Young says the recent events at the track are forcing him to call it quits.
He explained, "I got one of the best vets in the country that works on the horse and checks the horse before we even go and then we got a yo-yo here. I'm telling you this guy does not know which end of the horse he's looking at."
Bellard says up to 240 horses at Evangeline Downs have been ineligible to race at a single time.
He said, "personally I don't think it ever involved fixing racing, it involved get rid of a certain element of horse racing that they didn't didn't think was appropriate to horse racing in Louisiana."
The Racing Commission failed to return any of KATC's phone calls.