Delaware Cruelty Case Results In 30-Day Suspensions After Owner Tries To Hide Bowed Tendon

Three licensees have been given suspensions and fines in a horse cruelty case in Delaware, according to stewards’ rulings published this week. The rulings detailed a rough summer for allowance gelding Food and Wine. On June 2, the horse won the seventh race at Delaware Park by four lengths but walked out of the winner’s circle lame. Regulatory veterinarians placed the horse on the vet’s list, which would require him to complete a timed workout and pass a subsequent blood test before he’d be allowed to compete again.

Food and Wine, who was owned by Jose Luis Rosales and apparently trained by Linda Lee Manchio, was examined by a private veterinarian 12 days later. Ultrasounds revealed a bowed tendon with a 50 percent tear in one of the horse’s legs. The practitioner suggested the horse needed eight to twelve months’ rest to recover from the injury.

In early August, Manchio was notified that a post-race drug test from that June 2 race had come back positive for methocarbamol, which is a Class 4 substance and commonly used as a muscle relaxant to treat or prevent tying up. Manchio did not request to have the split sample tested. The horse was disqualified from his June win and Manchio was fined $1,000.

In the meantime, Food and Wine was still in training, posting a three-furlong workout on Sept. 25. Rosales contacted Delaware’s regulatory veterinarian to schedule a time for a breeze to get the horse off the vet’s list.

The stewards say Rosales ordered his horse be treated with Naquasone on Sept. 27. Naquasone contains a combination of trichlormethiazide (a diuretic) and dexamethasone acetate (a corticosteroid). On Sept. 27 and 28, Rosales also directed injections of dexamethasone to the horse, possibly to prepare for the workout scheduled for Oct. 3 before the state veterinarian.

The stewards’ ruling also indicates the horse was given oral prednisolone and Naquasone in August.

The workout was not a success, as Food and Wine pulled up lame after going a half mile in :50.60. The horse remained on the veterinarian’s list.

From there, Beverly Strauss, executive director of the MidAtlantic Horse Rescue, said she got a call from the horse’s owner requesting she rehome the horse. Strauss listed him on CANTER, an online listing service designed to help source horses from the track straight to second careers. There were no takers, so Strauss pulled the listing and sent Food and Wine to MidAtlantic’s lay-up facility. She said the gelding is doing well, but her organization will shoulder his costs for quite some time.

“The tendon is ugly but he is working fairly well on it,” she said. “We will give him a year off and then find him an appropriate home. He is very sweet and quite handsome.”

Glen Hill Farm’s Craig Bernick, who bred Food and Wine, said he has been in touch with MidAtlantic and will be sending a donation to help cover the cost of the gelding’s rehabilitation.

Delaware stewards cited several rule violations in the case against owner Rosales and listed trainer Linda Manchio, including the state’s regulation against cruelty to horses. Rosales and Manchio were suspended 30 days and fined $2,500 for their roles in the incident, which stemmed from a complaint by an unidentified practicing veterinarian. Additionally, testimony at a stewards’ hearing revealed Linda Manchio had not been at Delaware Park at all in 2021 and had left her barn in the care of her daughter, assistant trainer Belinda Manchio, who was also suspended 30 days and fined $1,000.

Linda Manchio has 18 starts this year, all but one of which were at the Delaware Park summer meet. Her first entry as a trainer came in 1976 according to Equibase, though riding and training records prior to that year have not been digitized. Manchio has saddled horses sporadically since 2000, taking a gap between 2003 and 2020.

Rosales, who became a licensed owner in 2019, has had 15 starts this year, coming entirely from three horses, including Food and Wine. One had already been claimed away from him at the time of the October ruling, and the other had changed hands sometime over the summer, going from the barn of Monica McGooey for Rosales to Manchio’s barn for new owner Pink Ribbon Stable.

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