The Stronach Group has announced the hiring of Dr. Laurie Bohannon to the newly created position of Senior Veterinarian. Bohannon will serve at the direction of TSG Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Dionne Benson as Santa Anita Park approaches the opening of its 23-day Autumn Meet on Friday, Sept. 27.
Santa Anita, which has led the way in enacting state of the art equine protocols and best practices, will again be fielding a team of veterinarians which will be overseeing on-track training and racing on a daily basis.
“In addition to Dr. Bohannon, we have a wealth of veterinary expertise working as part of our team here at Santa Anita,” said Benson. “Dr. Bohannon's day to day role will be to work with our Association veterinarians to ensure the best possible on-track coverage during training and racing.
“She will often cover on-track training in the morning as well as assist our primary Track Veterinarian, Dr. (Dana) Stead, in order to provide coverage during live racing. Additionally, she will assist with morning examinations for both racing and training.”
Bohannon, who received her DVM from Colorado State University, completed her internship at Pioneer Equine Hospital in Oakdale, CA, and completed her residency in Surgery at UC Davis. Along with a Clinical Fellowship at Oregon State University, Bohannon has practiced in both private and regulatory veterinary medicine at California racetracks.
Benson further noted that in addition to Bohannon and Stead, several other veterinarians will be taking on key roles, both during training and racing.
“Dr. Stead will be returning as our primary on-track veterinarian in the afternoons,” said Benson. “He brings years of experience to this important task as well as the pre-race and pre-work examinations. Dr. Tim Grande (representing the CHRB) will also perform pre-race and pre-work exams on behalf of Santa Anita.
“Dr. Grande has been performing these examinations for many years in Southern California and is an invaluable member of our team. Additionally, we hired Dr. April Chitrakar last year to assist in the mornings and she will be returning. Finally, we have Dr. Debbie Lamparter, who leads the Breeders' Cup veterinary team. She'll be assisting for several days during morning training prior to opening day here to ensure we have extra coverage.”
Benson's role will be largely administrative, as she coordinates implementation of a wide range of new policies and practices that are now in place to ensure equine, as well as human, health and welfare.
“I am proud to see that the reforms that were enacted at Santa Anita earlier this year have worked so successfully this summer at Del Mar,” said Benson. “The entire Santa Anita veterinary team is ready to work hard to make this fall meet the safest it can possibly be for horses, jockeys and exercise riders and we want everyone to know that our commitment to horse welfare and safety is absolutely paramount amongst all of our priorities.”
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