Trainer Rodriguez, Vet Fined For Medication Violation

by | 05.13.2015 | 8:25am
Trainer Rudy Rodriguez

Trainer Rudy Rodriguez and veterinarian Greg Bennett were each fined $3,000 by the New York State Gaming Commission for administering a drug to the horse Sage Valley outside the permitted time frame.

According to a report in the Daily Racing Form, the fine was reduced to $1,500 for both men after they waived their right of appeal.

Bennett admitted administering the drug glycopyrrolate, also known as Rubinol, to Sage Valley 72 hours out from his race Dec. 10, 2014, at Aqueduct. According to regulations, the drug cannot be administered within 96 hours of a race.

Sage Valley finished fourth in the race but collapsed soon after crossing the wire and died. The commission discovered the violation while investigating the cause of death, which was determined to be cardiovascular collapse. According to Bennett, the drug was not found to be in the horse's system.

“Rudy had quite a few horses coughing and snotting in the barn, and he was near them,” Bennett said in a statement. “I was under the assumption it was a 72-hour [drug]. It was an error in judgment on my part, strictly my mistake, nothing to reflect on Rudy.”

  • smitty

    Rubinol is used to dry out a horses conjested lungs.Horse runs and dies of probable exhaustion,related to a possible breathing problem?I thought Trainers and Veterinarians are supposed to realize when horses have a lung issue,especially one that might have the effect of causing serious damage?

    • Leilani1234

      I agree!
      Just because it’s coughing doesn’t mean that’s the issue. I had a cat coughing a lot, thought it was fur balls (long haired). Took it to vet and had X-rays, found out lung cancer. This horse was just doped up. Careless actions resulted in his having to race with an issue and died due to it. And the medication given closer to race just shows it was to help his cough. God forbid he coughed too much pre race vet exam.

    • Needles

      The money in NY is too great to put the horse’s welfare first Smitty. It’s that simple !! Rudy has never seen a dollar bill he didn’t like.

    • Jill Pflugheber

      One of the side effects of Robinal is decreased sweating. Overheating is a common problem with the use of this drug. In addition anti-cholinergics (like Robinol) shouldn’t be used when there are any cardiovascular issues–including rapid heartbeat.

  • DeniseSteffanus

    Greg Bennett was Dick Dutrow’s longtime veterinarian.

    • David Juffet

      I guess that fits like a glove. LaPenta will pull his horses from this monster and give them back to Chad Brown or he loses my respect as an owner.

  • tb4evr

    how many times has this guy had positive tests? it seems like alot

  • gregrobertson

    His horses are sick, and he still runs them. Take away his Lic. for a minimum of 5 years.

  • Marty P

    Ban this guy

  • Noelle

    Sickening story. According to his website, Bennett has been practicing veterinary medicine since 1982. After 33 years, he claims to be unaware of the rules? Give me a break. If true, he’s incompetent; if false, he knowingly cheated. Either way, $1500 is ridiculous. $1500 is chump change to a successful veterinarian.

    He rolled the dice and got caught because the horse died – if Sage Valley had lived, would anyone know about the illegal administration of the drug? If the drug was undetectable at the time of the horse’s death, one wonders how many other drugs Bennett administers in violation of the rules.

    And what about Rodriguez – how does an illegal drug get into one of his horses without his knowing about it? What kind of trainer allows the vet to drug his horses in violation of the rules? So maybe he’s incompetent too – or a knowing cheater – and either way $1500 teaches him (and his fellow trainers) nothing.

    • Marty P

      $1500 doesn’t deter anything 1st time offense = life time ban will

  • NY Owner

    They didn’t say the horse was sick, they said he was near other horses that were sick. They also said the horse died of a cardiovascular event, not a breathing problem. There was no trace of the drug in his system when he died. Did you guys even read the article?

    • Marty P

      you are aware Rudy has multiple drug suspensions? No Drug trace of Rubinol so what, that seems to be a frequent occurrence in NYRA tracks cardiovascular event. Maybe you should pull your head out of the sand. Better yet they should have Olympic style drug testing.

      • NY Owner

        I am fully aware that rudy has multiple violations. I was responding to the unsubstantiated statements that the horse was sick and/or died of a breathing problem. Now that my head is out of the sand, maybe you should clean your glasses.

        • Marty P

          so brave hiding behind NY Owner handle instead of using your own name, I’ll reference you as Drawing Away Stables. One of the biggest culprits in horses fatalities in NYRA

          • NY Owner

            Hahahahahaha! Nice jab Marty “P”

    • JerseyGirl

      Did you even get the point? A horse died as a result of being given this drug, administered by a vet via trainer! Other horses being sick is a moot pt.

      • johnnyknj

        What is the basis for saying a horse died as a result of being given this medication? Fact 1: A horse died. Fact 2: The horse had been given this medication. Conclusion: The horse died as a result of being given this medication. Airtight logic.

      • NY Owner

        But you don’t know that the horse died as a result of being given the drug. You assumed that. My point, that you don’t seem to get, is that you don’t help the cause of preventing abuse of medications by leaping to conclusions with no actual evidence.

    • Ben van den Brink

      The lab that did the testing, was using equipment/ personnel that was not good enough.Otherwise detection should have come up with results.

    • Leilani1234

      According to Bennett there was no trace of the drug. Why would the vet even admit to anything if there was no scrutiny? He was near sick horses so they just assumed he should have the medication too? Ok,if I’m in the hospital next to someone who needs open heart surgery why not operate on my heart too? Seriously stop defending actions that are questionable. The horse died! Obviously had something going on and this vet and trainer didn’t help him one bit. They helped him die is what I see.

      • NY Owner

        There is always scrutiny when a horse dies on the track and I am not defending anyone. My problem with many of the comments here is that people are leaping to conclusions about the cause of death when no cause of death is stated in this article! I will be the first to demand sanctions when the evidence is there that someone’s wrong doing caused injury or death. But you don’t help the cause of punishing carelessness with these amazing athletes by asserting facts not in evidence. Oh, and last I knew, heart disease isn’t contagious.

        • Leilani1234

          So you’re saying it’s ok to give medications to horses that don’t need it? And if he did need it why is he racing a sick horse? Defending his actions is useless. Have a good day. Not responding to your defenses any more.

  • AngelaFromAbilene

    Another long time track vet that “didn’t know.”

  • Judith Van Doren

    Do not have too much respect for the vet’s decision to administer this drug, and not even check out the time frame, much less reconsider not giving drug in first place.

  • kmunster2015

    Quick comment. Look at the picture everyone. Would you buy a used car from that man? Enough said.Kevin M.

    • Never trust a man with 200 teeth in his mouth.

  • nathan rotstein


  • Michael Castellano

    Now we have a drug violation that only came to light because the horse died. One wonders if the administration of race day Lasix, which dehydrates a horse, acted in combination with another drug used to “dry” out a horse’s lungs, to cause the horse’s death?

    • Ben van den Brink

      That is indeed something that came on my mind as well, but all you get is a 1500 dollar fine, it is in my opnion an attempted horse murder.

  • Needles

    It’s time for this bum Rudy Rodriguez to get ejected from this sport. He does nothing but cause problems and in my opinion he runs a lot of sore horses. Without a vet, Rodriguez is firing at 7% at Yavapai Downs.

  • JerseyGirl

    Outrageous! Both should get much worse. A horse died. Why does this still not matter to some so called horsemen?!?

  • naprovniknaprovnik

    This guy is a disgrace to the sport – he pays$1500 for killing a horse, and goes on with his evil deeds? And you idiots wonder why the American people don’t spend money with you ….

    • Dee R. Eff

      There is no evidence that this drug was the cause of the horses death.
      The vet admitted it was his mistake to give the drug 3 days out instead of 4 days out, and that Rudy had nothing to do with that decision.
      The drug was not present in the horses system at the time of death.
      Your conclusion? Rudy killed the horse with is evil deeds?

  • pesposito

    Rubinol is used for stomach ulcers, not coughs and colds!! It is also used post-operatively to reduce pharyngeal secretions, etc. but I don’t think the horse had had surgery 72 hours out but with Rudy Rodriguez who knows.

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