(Trainer Rodolphe Brisset / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)
On Sunday, July 7, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Stewards met at Ellis Park and issued a ruling against trainer Rodolphe Brisset and a disqualification of his horse, Talk Veuve To Me, for testing positive for the Class C drug — aminocaproic acid — in a post-race blood test.
Talk Veuve to Me — a very talented filly, winner of the 2018 Indiana Oaks, and trained by Brisset — won the 8th race at Keeneland on April 11. However, it was later determined that the filly had allegedly run with the illegal medication in her system after a review of her post-race test by Industrial Laboratories — the official testing laboratory for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
According to the Stewards’ Ruling, posted on the Commission’s website, a split-sample of the first test was confirmed at Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory.
Aminocaproic acid, or Amicar, is a FDA-approved for use in the treatment of acute bleeding due to elevated fibrinolytic activity. It also carries an Orphan Drug designation from the FDA for the prevention of recurrent hemorrhage in patients with traumatic hyphen.
It is not approved or permitted, though, as a race-day, therapeutic medication for Thoroughbreds in Kentucky. Only Lasix may be utilized on race day.
Brisset, who is 34 years old and keeps a stable at the Keeneland Training Facility on Rice Road, saddled his first horse in mid-May 2017, a colt named Your Way.
One of the top horses that Brisset has trained to date is the 4YO Distorted Humor colt — Quip, who won the Tampa Bay Derby on March 3, 2018 and most recently was second to Seeking the Soul in the G2 Stephen Foster Stakes at Churchill Downs. Quip also won the G2 Oaklawn Handicap this year at Oaklawn Park. Quip is owned by the team of WinStar Farm LLC, China Horse Club International Ltd., and SF Racing LLC.
Talk Veuve to Me, also trained by Brisset for the ownership team of Team Valor International and Stephen McKay, now has a record of 2 wins, 3 seconds and 0 thirds in 9 career starts. After running second in the G2 Eight Belles Stakes at Churchill Downs last May, and running second in the G1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park last June, Talk Veuve to Me won the G3 Indiana Oaks on July 14.
It looked like Talk Veuve to Me was back to the top of her game this April when she won the allowance event at Keeneland on April 11. According to the race chart on the Equibase website, she set the pace early, shifted into the three path in the turn then drew clear late in the stretch under a steady drive. She won by over 21/4 lengths and defeated the likes of Treble, Awestruck and Upset Brewing.
The updated chart now includes the following language:
“Per Ruling #19-0062 From the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, Talk Veuve to Me was DQ’d due to a positive test.”
As a result of the disqualification, the owners have to forfeit the winner’s share of the $85,000 purse — which amounts to $51,000.
An interesting sidebar is that Barry Irwin — an owner and breeder and one of the founders of Team Valor and an outspoken critic of therapeutic race day medications like Lasix — is one of the primary owners of Talk Veuve to Me. Irwin is listed as one of the primary supporters of Water Hay Oats Alliance (WHOA), on the organization’s own website, and whose subtitle is listed as “Stop Drugs in Racing.”
Brisset was a longtime assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott before opening a pubic stable in Lexington in April of 2017. Brisset first joined Mott’s operation as an exercise rider, but after only 3 months in that capacity, he was elevated to the status of Assistant Trainer. He served 11 years with the Mott operation in that capacity.
Before joining Mott’s barn, though, Brisset — born in Tours, France — served as an assistant to trainer Patrick Biancone, who has a well-documented history of running afoul of medication violations — both in the United States and abroad, including Hong Kong.
On June 22, 2007, Biancone became the subject of an investigation by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority (the official name of the Commission at the time). Biancone’s barns were raided by a team led by the Stewards. Cobra venom, which is barred by state regulation from any racetrack grounds, was found in a crystalline form in a refrigerator in Biancone’s barn during that raid. Snake venom is a neurotoxin that can be injected to deaden pain in a joint or a nerve.
On Sept. 17, 2007, Dr. Rodney Stewart, Biancone’s veterinarian at the time, was suspended for a total of five years by the KHRA for possessing cobra venom, two other Class A Drugs, and various other violations that resulted from the investigation.
On Oct. 4, 2007, Biancone was suspended for one year by the KHRA, a penalty that was later shortened to a 6-month suspension with the caveat that Biancone could not apply for a trainer’s license for another 6 months after the suspension ended. As part of the settlement, too, Biancone had to agree to remove his name as the trainer for his Breeders’ Cup entries; end his appeal to the suspension; and he was banned from both the public and private areas of Kentucky racetracks.
The day after the settlement was reached between all parties, Biancone issued a press release that argued his innocence.
In August of 2017, nearly 10 years later, Biancone was granted a conditional license to train in Kentucky once again by the Kentucky Racing Commission. The license was issued with the stipulation that if Biancone incurs certain medication violations or is found to have falsified his license application in Kentucky or any other jurisdiction, the license would be revoked, following due process.
The Stewards fined Brisset a sum of $500.00 for the positive test.
Here is a copy of the official order: