When the Breeders' Cup World Championships returned to Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California in late October, UC Davis veterinarians were on the track.
"I was a young faculty member when the California Horse Racing Board proposed an emergency team for the Breeders' Cup in Hollywood Park," recalls equine surgeon Larry Galuppo. He and Professor Emeritus Dennis Meagher set the first protocols in emergency veterinary support for that race in 1997.
In 2008, when the Breeders' Cup returned to California, Rick Arthur of the CHRB asked Galuppo to help update health and safety procedures for the high-profile racing event. In collaboration with Arthur and Karen Klawitter of the Southern California Equine Foundation Hospital, Galuppo and his team arranged for medical kits and three ambulances to stand by.
As other veterinarians performed pre-race exams, Galuppo formed an attending veterinary crew--Melinda MacDonald, Jamie Textor, Jorge Nieto, and Robin Bell--to provide emergency care. Another faculty member, Scott Stanley of the Kenneth L. Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory, provided required drug testing services.
Fortunately, the races went smoothly in 2008, the first time that the event took place on synthetic track. Next year? Galuppo's team is ready to serve when the Breeders' Cup again takes place at Santa Anita.