Ky. Commission Seeks Review of Cobra Venom Ruling

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission voted April 9 to ask the state Supreme Court for discretionary review of a recent Court of Appeals decision overturning a four-year suspension imposed on Rodney Stewart, DVM, for possession of cobra venom.

In September 2009, Stewart was suspended for four years for possession of three sealed vials of cobra venom, a substance used to kill pain, and suspended for one year for the possession of carbidopa and levodopa, both of which are used to treat Parkinson's disease in humans. The substances were found during a June 22, 2007 search and seizure of items in a barn at the Keeneland Race Course training center occupied by trainer Patrick Biancone.

Biancone was also suspended six months, and then did not seek licensing for an additional six months before resuming his training career.

In a March 15, 2013, ruling, the appeals court said the regulation under which Stewart was disciplined was vague. The appeals panel also declined to reverse a lower court ruling on Stewart's behalf dismissing a one-year suspension he was given for possession of two other drugs.

Should the Supreme Court deny a review, the Court of Appeals decision will be officially final. If it accepts the case, the Supreme Court would conduct its own independent review of the case.

Originally published on

About the Author

Ron Mitchell/The Horse

Ron Mitchell is Online Managing Editor for The Blood-Horse magazine. A Lexington native, Mitchell joined The Blood-Horse after serving in editorial capacities with The Thoroughbred Record and Thoroughbred Times, specializing in business and auction aspects of the industry, and was editor-in-chief of the award-winning Horsemen’s Journal. As online managing editor, Mitchell works closely with The Blood-Horse news editor and other departments to make sure the website content is the most thorough and accurate source for all Thoroughbred news, results, videos, and data.

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