Louisiana Racing Group Hires Medical Director, Plans to Add Vets

The Louisiana State Racing Commission has hired Tom David, DVM, as its first equine medical director.

David will supervise new and previously existing state veterinary positions. In addition, he will oversee medical and testing activities at the state's four racetracks--Delta Downs Racetrack & Casino, Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino, Fair Grounds, and Harrah's Louisiana Downs.

The commission also plans to add one veterinarian at each track, made possible by increased funding from the state's portion of slot-machine revenue generated at Louisiana tracks. Each track will now have three commission veterinarians and one association veterinarian.

David said one of his goals for the position is to create pre-race physical examinations of horses entered to race and to continue to expand the pre-race drug testing program.

"Pre-race exams are one thing we want to institute, and there are a lot of other little things we want to do to bring us up to speed," David said. "The addition of the new veterinarians and the expansion of our drug-testing program will put us on the same level as the other major racing states."

In the past five years, the racing commission has adopted a more stringent testing regimen, including pre-race and random testing of banned performance-enhancing drugs including human recombinant erythropoietin (EPO) and darbepoietin, as well as testing for total dissolved carbon dioxide, commonly called a "milkshake."

David becomes the second veterinarian in the United States to hold such a position, joining Rick Arthur, DVM, who was named to the position last year in California. The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority also has plans to hire an equine medical director, and the Washington racing commission is advertising for the position.

(Originally published in The Blood-Horse).

About the Author

Leslie Deckard

Leslie Deckard is a former staff writer for The Blood-Horse magazine.

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