‘Trying to Help the Horse’ — Even If It Breaks the Rules
Last Wednesday afternoon at Penn National near Harrisburg, Pa., Trish Rogers, the wife and assistant trainer to J. Michael Rogers, wanted to help a horse in their barn named Strong Resolve deal with a chronic internal bleeding problem.
So, about two hours before Strong Resolve was to compete in the evening's second race, a $12,500 claiming event, Trish Rogers – according to her husband – put two cubic centimeters of furosemide, better known as Lasix, into a syringe and was getting ready to administer it to the horse. Never mind the fact that Trish Rogers isn't a veterinarian and that the Pennsylvania rule for Lasix is that it's to be administered four hours before a race.
In the words of her husband, who was running the couple's stable at Presque Isle Downs while Trish managed the Penn National operation, “She was just trying to do right by the horse.”
Apparently, someone in a position of authority came across Trish Rogers and Strong Resolve and reported the incident to stewards. As a result, Strong Resolve and another Rogers trainee, Side Party Ralph, were scratched from Wednesday night's program.
When questioned by the Paulick Report about why Strong Resolve and Side Party Ralph were listed in the Equibase charts as scratched by the stewards, the stewards deferred comment to the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission. They also wouldn't comment on whether a hearing will be scheduled or a complaint filed against Trish Rogers. Multiple messages left by telephone and email with the racing commission have gone unanswered.
Twenty-four hours later, everything appeared to be business as usual. Kelly's Endeavor romped by seven lengths at Penn National for Mike and Trish Rogers, and the following night they had another winner, Ninety Five South, who won his race by 4 1⁄4 lengths.
But Mike Rogers knows his wife violated the rules.
“(Strong Resolve) shouldn't have been getting it when he got it,” Rogers admitted about the Lasix shot. “She was trying to help the horse, that's all she was doing. She's a horse person and this horse was a bad bleeder. The way they have it here, (racing authorities) don't want to do anything to help the horse. We're not allowed to use any adjunct medication.
“If you like your horses, you want to do right for them,” he added. “This place wants absolutely zero medication.”
Rogers added that his wife is “not the only one who has done this.”
Strong Resolve, who has been re-entered Tuesday night at Presque Isle Downs, was claimed for $25,000 by Rogers on behalf of Dr. Barry Schumer at Penn National in May 2012. He earned in excess of $40,000 over the next six months, then went on a four-month hiatus in late October. Since returning in March, Strong Resolve has struggled to be competitive.
“He had bled tremendously before,” said Rogers. “This BS that horses don't bleed is insane. They actually bleed so much, they're drowning. What she did was wrong, but all she was doing was trying to help the horse.”
Rogers said his wife “has never had a blemish on her record in 30 years. She's worked very hard, and to have something like this happen is a bad call. She didn't deserve that.”
I guess the stewards at Penn National or the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission will be the judge of that.