U.S. Rider, Vet Unsure of Source of Olympic Drug Positive

Following a routine drug test on August 19 at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong, Mythilus, a U.S. dressage horse, ridden by Courtney King-Dye, was found to have tested positive for Felbinac. Felbinac is considered a class A prohibited substance by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI). Felbinac is usually applied topically for the relief of local pain and inflammation and belongs to a group of medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

When Mythilus arrived in Hong Kong he was treated in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Clinic for artrial fibrillation as a result of stress from his trip. USEF Veterinarian Rick Mitchell, DVM, attended to the horse in close cooperation with the Veterinary Commission. King-Dye and Mitchell believe that during treatment at the clinic, he may have come in contact with Felbinac. In discussion with King-Dye, USEF vets, grooms, and physical therapists, no other explanation or conclusion was able to be drawn.

"Neither I nor my vets had ever heard of the drug Felbinac until we got the call about Myth's positive test," said King-Dye. "We were stunned and baffled. We spent the entire day doing internet research on the uses for this drug and how it could possibly have gotten into my horse's system. As far as we could find it is not even manufactured, approved, or available in the U.S. My horse has had no soundness problems whatsoever, and I would have no need for an anti-inflammatory. Anyone who knows me knows whole heartedly that I would never dope my horse intentionally. It is cheating; it is not putting your best against the other's best. I have never been in a more torturous and frustrating situation; trying to prove innocence is very hard. It saddens me beyond description that my whole reputation could be blackened because of this situation."

The FEI Tribunal stated in their preliminary decision that "there are circumstances in this case that makes it difficult to clear out how the Prohibited Substance entered into the horse's system."

"The USEF stands behind the FEI's initiatives to rid the sport of doping and to protect the welfare of our horses. We are equally supportive of Courtney in this situation as this substance was unknown to any of us until a few days ago," said USEF CEO John Long. "It seems clear that Mythilus came into contact with it without Courtney's or Dr. Mitchell's knowledge."

For more on this see "Olympic Medication Update: 'B' Samples Positive, U.S. Rider also Involved."

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