LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – The Animal Wellness Action organization has called on the Kentucky State Veterinarian’s Office and the Kentucky State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners to investigate the circumstances surrounding the 2021 death of an 8-year-old champion stallion.
Laoban, the winner of the 2016 Jim Dandy Stakes in Saratoga, died at WinStar Farms in Versailles in 2021, where he was being cared for while breeding, was given an expired 9-year-old expired medication to boost the stallion’s libido just before his death.
In a news release from Animal Wellness Action, the Washington D.C.-based non-profit organization, brought to light that the North American Specialty Insurance Company denied an insurance claim on the life of the thoroughbred.
“With the ongoing controversy in American horse racing due to equine deaths both on and off the track and the rampant overuse of medication in the sport, and now this unfortunate incident in the breeding shed, we believe it imperative for the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners and Office of the Kentucky State Veterinarian to investigate this matter, and report to the public its findings,” wrote Animal Wellness Action executive director, Marty Irby, and Kentucky state director, Joseph Grove, in a letter to the Kentucky State Veterinarian’s Office and the Kentucky State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.
“The steady stream of drug-related scandals in American horse racing is piling up,” added Irby. “If the industry is serious about cleaning up its act and bringing integrity back to the sport, then it must embrace full transparency and take action to put the welfare of the horses first, including in the breeding shed.”
“Growing up just minutes from Churchill Downs, accustomed to the false grandeur and romance of the Kentucky Derby, I’m ever more disheartened to see how poorly Thoroughbreds are regarded,” added Grove, a resident, and native of Louisville. “This horror shows that’s what really at stake is profits, not the well-being of these exquisite horses.”
The Animal Wellness Action release emphasized the importance of this investigation after the recent string of controversies surrounding horse racing.