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Lawsuit says vets altered dates on X-rays of auction horses

February 9, 2019

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A lawsuit filed Thursday accuses veterinarians of falsifying the dates on X-rays of horse sold at public auction at the Keeneland racetrack.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the lawsuit was brought Tom Swearingen, a horse buyer and trainer who says he paid more than $400,000 for 24 horses from 2007 to 2016.

The lawsuit in Fayette Circuit Court claims veterinarians with Hagyard Equine Medical Institute altered dates to make it look as though X-rays were taken within three weeks of a sale when they were actually older.

The suit seeks class-action status, claiming that “thousands of buyers” have been duped by altered X-rays.

“Had they known it was a sham, they never would have participated in the sale in the first place,” the suit says.

Michael Casey is an attorney for Hagyard. He told the paper the case is without merit.

“We will vigorously address the misrepresentations and claims made in the suit through the proper legal channels,” he said.

Some of the allegations in the lawsuit first surfaced in a 2017 suit also filed in Fayette Circuit Court. A trial date has not been scheduled in that case.

Some veterinarians admitted to modifying X-ray dates to the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners, according to court records.

The new lawsuit also names as a defendant the accounting firm Dean Dorton Allen Ford, which provides computer and information technology services for Hagyard. The firm had no comment when contacted by the paper.

According to the lawsuit, Keeneland sells about a half billion dollars in thoroughbreds at its annual horse sales, and more than $25 million in commissions and fees are paid to consignors, sellers, veterinarians and the sales agency.

Keeneland officials told the paper they had no comment on the lawsuit. The track is not named as a defendant.

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