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US Gr3-Winner Golden Velvet Sponged
Wednesday Odd Spot: In the US, 5YO mare Golden Velvet (Seeking The Gold-Caress, by Storm Cat) who dead-heated for victory in the Gr3 Sabin Handicap (8 furlongs) at Gulfstream Park on January 6, was found after that race to have been "sponged," reported bloodhorse.com. The mare's handlers "found the sponge after detecting a strong odor" & immediately contacted Gulfstream officials. "Sponging" horses is a felony: a small piece of sponge "is placed deep within a horse's nostril to inhibit breathing, a practice that attempts to prevent the runner from performing at an optimum level". Gulfstream president Bill Murphy commented: "The integrity of this sport is extremely important to all of us in this industry. This matter is under investigation by the Department Of Business & Professional Regulation (racing's regulatory body in the state of Florida) & no compromises will be made as we protect the impeccable, better-than 70-year reputation this racetrack has earned & maintained."