NEWS & VIEWS continued

cil employee Ashley Furst on September 28, 2018. On January 29 of this year, Furst pled guilty to a federal wire fraud charge from an embezzlement scheme that resulted in the theft of $545,000 from the American Horse Council. U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and Nan- cy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington, DC field office, made the announcement. Furst, a former Marylander, pled guilty in the

U.S. District Court for the District of Colum- bia. Te charge carries a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison and potential financial pen- alties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, she will likely serve 27-33 months in prison and be fined up to $100,000. Furst has also agreed to pay $545,594 in restitution and the same amount in a forfeiture money judgment. Sen- tencing is scheduled for May 10.

MJC Increases Pre-Race Vet Exam Procedures

Te Maryland Jockey Club announced on

March 15 via a text message to horsemen that pre-race exams will become more strict at Lau- rel Park. Te message stated: “Effective immediately, please be advised

that, going forward, all pre-race exams will be more strict. All trainers are asked to be pres- ent for pre-race exams. Please have available any veterinary records in the event of questions or concerns. Additional scrutiny will also be present in the post parade and at the starting gate. If there are any concerns, your horse will be scratched. Tank you for your cooperation.” Earlier in March, Santa Anita in California,

also owned by Te Stronach Group, was tem- porarily closed while the fatalities of 22 horses are under investigation. As of March 8, Stro- nach’s Chief Operating Officer Tim Ritvo,

stated that trainers at Santa Anita must pro- vide 24-hour advance notice to track officials if they intend to breeze a horse so that track veterinarians can watch the workouts in hopes of identifying “at risk” horses. Te track has also hired additional veterinary staff to assist with morning workouts. Te Stronach Group Chairman and Presi- dent Belinda Stronach sent an open letter to the press stating that Te Stronach Group “will take the unprecedented step of declar- ing a zero tolerance for race day medication at Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields.” Te new mandate includes a complete revision of the current medication policy and is meant to improve safety of the horses and jockeys. Tese revisions include banning the use of Lasix, as well as other changes to veterinary procedures. In addition, cushion crops are now the only style

of crop allowed during races at those two tracks. Also in the press release, Del Mar Torough-

bred Club CEO Jack Harper stated that they have voiced their agreement with these new changes stating, “Del Mar has and will continue to support discussions and implementation of measures that enhance the safety and welfare of our athletes. We are committed to working with Santa Anita, Te Stronach Group and other in- dustry stakeholders to continue to improve.” To read the full statement from Te Stronach Group, go to

76 Horses on Assateague Did you know that the park rangers on the

Maryland side of Assateague Island conduct population counts six times a year? Te first one of the year was just completed in February. Below is a summery of the report. Te total population of the Maryland herd is 76 horses, which includes 21 stallions and 55 H.R. COLLINS & CO.

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mares. Tree aged mares, N6BK “Bessy Twist- er”, N6H and X24M “Patty” are missing and presumed dead. Te Maryland side of the island is managed as a wildlife population, with the horses being free to roam over approximately 27 miles of the barrier island, making them difficult to find at times. During each census, horses are identified by their distinguishing characteristics, mapped and counted. Individual horses that are not observed during multiple census periods are presumed dead. Te purpose of the census is to monitor the overall population dynamics of the horse herd in support of the long term fertility control program that was initiated in 1994.

From Kill Pen to Champion

By Jennifer Keefer Jeffrey R. Michael took home his second Res- cued to Stardom win at the 2019 Horse World Expo in Harrisburg, PA (February 28-March 3). Te Rescued to Stardom Challenge paired ten regional horse trainers with ten regional rescue organizations. Each trainer then had 90 days to get his or her rescue horse ready for the Expo competition. At Expo, trainers showed their res- cue horses both in hand and under saddle. Michael, owner of Split Creek Equine So-

lutions in Hagerstown, partnered with Omega Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation out of Air- ville, PA. A horse trainer, clinician, and equine dentist, he has years of experience working with rescue horses. In this year’s Challenge, Michael worked with RPM (“Rescued Perfor- mance Machine”), who was rescued by Omega Horse Rescue from the kill pen. It is believed that RPM, an 8-year-old Quarter Horse, was a breeding stallion and was dumped at the kill pen when he was deemed no longer useful.

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