Equine Research Supported by Grayson and Barbaro Fund

Fifteen new research projects to benefit the horse will be launched this year through funding from the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. Four other projects begun in 2009 will be funded in their second and concluding year, with a total allocation of $889,697 for the 19 projects.

The total funding for 2010 includes $97,431 allocated by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Charities–Barbaro Memorial Fund, which stresses laminitis research and is named in honor of the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner that succumbed to laminitis eight months after surgery to repair leg fractures. The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation provided evaluation of projects for the NTRA Charities–Barbaro Memorial Fund.
     
The new Grayson-Jockey Club projects will address a wide range of problems and conditions that affect a large number of horses. Some are specific to the racehorse, including work by Dr. Sue Stover and Dr. Mont Hubbard at the University of California, Davis. They will be continuing work on validating a laboratory process for evaluating racetrack materials with the aim of maximizing safety.
 
Another racetrack-related project will be conducted at Canada’s University of Guelph by Dr. Jeffrey Thomason, whose team will be analyzing the effects on horses’ hooves of different degrees of racetrack banking. Horses will be trained both clockwise and counter-clockwise during the study. Dr. Thomason’s project was selected to receive the 2010 Elastikon Equine Research Award, which is funded in part by a donation to the foundation from the Consumer Products Division of Johnson & Johnson, manufacturer of Elastikon tape and other equine products.
     
Other subjects addressed by the new projects include equine herpesvirus-1, bone regeneration utilizing adult stem cells, protection against endotoxemia, equine botulism, and early fetal loss.
     
One of the Barbaro Fund laminitis projects to be supported this year will be conducted by Dr. Dean Richardson, who headed the team that repaired Barbaro’s original injury and valiantly strived to save him. Dr. Richardson, of the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center, will seek to develop a gene therapy approach to prevent laminitis in the contralateral hoof when a horse is being treated for musculoskeletal injury. The other laminitis project will be conducted at the University of Tennessee by Dr. Nicholas Frank, who will be following up on evidence linking endotoxin and the onset of laminitis.
 
In addition, Catherine Radcliffe Hackett of Cornell University has been selected as the winner of the Storm Cat Career Development Award. The award is presented to a young scientist with an interest in potentially pursuing a career in equine research and is funded by Mrs. Lucy Young Hamilton, a member of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation board of directors. The $15,000 award is named in honor of the leading stallion Storm Cat, which stood at the Overbrook Farm owned by Mrs. Hamilton’s family. The Storm Cat Award has been presented for five years, and the first three recipients are now employed at universities in equine research. The 2009 winner, Dr. Melissa King, is completing her studies.
     
Radcliffe will be working on stem cell research under the tutelage of Dr. Lisa Fortier, a distinguished researcher, recipient of multiple Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation grants, and a former member of the foundation’s Research Advisory Committee.
  
The new projects being funded were evaluated as the best of some 60 proposals received by Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. All proposals are evaluated by the Research Advisory Committee, which recommends to the board of directors which ones should be funded. The board met recently to authorize the funding, and the 2010 allocation brings the total number of projects funded since 1983 to 260 projects at three dozen universities for $17.1 million, exclusive of the NTRA Charities’ funds and Storm Cat awards.
     
Descriptions of the new projects are available on grayson-jockeyclub.org.
 

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