Who can forget Dr. Larry Bramlage's helpful commentary at the 2006 Preakness Stakes when Barbaro was rushed from the track on the horse ambulance? Dr. Bramlage did not just happen to be at the rail that day last May; he was there in an official capacity, "just in case" a veterinarian's commentary was needed. Dr. Bramlage's presence was arranged by the American Association of Equine Practitioners' (AAEP) "On Call" program.
With the March 17th premiere of the 2007 Citgo "Racing to the Kentucky Derby" series, the AAEP's "On Call" program will begin its 17th year of providing horse health information during live Thoroughbred racing on the major networks. "On Call" is designed to deliver accurate veterinary information to broadcast and print journalists through media-trained veterinarians who respond to crisis situations and answer questions about the health of the equine athlete.
As the 2007 schedule kicks off, veterinarians have been named to assist six spring racing telecasts as well as the Triple Crown:
* March 17: San Felipe Stakes - Dr. Rick Arthur at Santa Anita Park with support from Dr. Milton McClure at Oaklawn Park and Dr. Rosalyn Randall at Tampa Bay Downs.
* March 24: Lane's End Stakes and Rushaway Stakes - Dr. Rhonda Rathgeber at Turfway Park.
* April 7: Wood Memorial and Bay Shore Stakes - Dr. Celeste Kunz at Aqueduct; Santa Anita Derby - Dr. Rick Arthur at Santa Anita Park.
* April 14: Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and Commonwealth Stakes - Dr. Scott Hopper at Keeneland Racecourse.
* April 21: Coolmore Lexington Stakes - Dr. Alan Ruggles at Keeneland Racecourse.
* Triple Crown: Dr. Larry Bramlage.
Since the founding of "On Call" in 1991, more than 30 AAEP members have volunteered their time and expertise to the program. Offered during all live network racing as well as arena events such as the AQHA World Championship Show, over 75 events are supported by an "On Call" veterinarian each year. The program is made possible in part by an annual donation from the Oak Tree Racing Association.
For more information about the AAEP's On Call program, contact Sally Baker, AAEP director of marketing and public relations, at email@example.com or (859) 233-0147.
(Edited from a press release provided by the AAEP and NTRA; photo of Dr. Bramlage being interviewed on NBC provided by AAEP)