News Releases

Thursday, February 27, 2020Contact: Jamie Haydon (859) 224-2750
More than $1.3 Million in Funding Approved for Equine Research by Grayson-Jockey Club Board

The board of directors of Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation announced today that it has authorized expenditure of $1,389,637 to fund 17 new projects at 13 universities, four continuing projects, and the Storm Cat Career Development Award. The 2020 slate of research brings Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation’s totals since 1983 to more than $28.8 million to underwrite 383 projects at 45 universities.

One of the projects, to fund sample collection, storage, and cataloging of tissue related to nocardioform placentitis for future submitted research, was accepted because it is directly affecting the 2020 Kentucky foal crop.

“All of our projects are important and designed to help the most horses with the most relevant and critical research, and I’d like to thank all of our many donors and supporters,” said Dell Hancock, chairman of Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. “However, some projects are extremely time-sensitive, such as the one for nocardioform placentitis, which is affecting our foals in Central Kentucky right now. Nocardioform placentitis cannot be replicated, so we urge farms to provide tissue samples to the University of Kentucky to help solve this terrible problem.”

“Given that we see nocardioform placentits only on a sporadic basis, it is essential we are able to act quickly and acquire samples during an outbreak. We are extremely grateful to Grayson for their support of this effort. It is only through the collection of samples for further analysis and continued screening of the identified bacteria for antibiotic sensitivity and resistance that we will be able to improve our understanding of this disease,” said David Horohov, PhD, chair of the Department of Veterinary Science and director of Gluck Equine Research Center, University of Kentucky.

The University of Kentucky has made arrangements with local veterinarians, who have been supplied with the proper testing kits. Veterinarians who would like additional information should contact All of the testing for this research will be done at no cost to enrolled mares on participating farms.

Below is an alphabetical list by school of the new projects:

Passive Immunization Of Foals With RNA-AB Against R Equi
Jeroen Pollet, Baylor College Of Medicine
By inhalation therapy, we intend to deliver the genetic code for a protective antibody against rhodococcus equi into the lung cells of newborn foals, to rapidly protect them against infection.

Improving Fungal Diagnosis In Horses
Soon Hon Cheong, Cornell University
Developing a diagnostic test that can rapidly detect, identify, and determine the antifungal susceptibility profile of clinical equine samples to improve treatment outcomes of fungal infection in horses.

Bisphosphonates And Fatal Musculoskeletal Injury
Heidi Reesink, Cornell University
Determining the prevalence of bisphosphonate use in racehorses and whether bisphosphonates are associated with fatal musculoskeletal injury is essential to equine welfare and the future of racing.

Novel Treatment For Recurrent Exertional Rhabdomyolysis
Stephanie Valberg, Michigan State University
Determining if a potent antioxidant coenzyme q10, not subject to withdrawal times, can benefit horses with tying up by replenishing diminished muscle coq10 levels and decreasing oxidative stress.

Enhancing The Efficacy Of MSCs For Tendon Healing
Lauren Schnabel, North Carolina State University
This proposal examines the tendon inflammatory environment following acute injury and the effect of such an environment on mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), with the goal of improving MSC treatment efficacy.

AMPK Agonist Combination Therapy & ID In Horses
Teresa Burns, The Ohio State University
By completing this work, we hope to characterize a combination therapy to improve equine insulin resistance that is administered orally and well tolerated.

SDFT Adaptation In Thoroughbred Racehorses
Sushmitha Durgam, The Ohio State University
The impact of training and racing on (mal)adaptations in superficial digital flexor tendon hierarchical structure will be evaluated to delineate the pathophysiology of this common injury in racehorses.

Dynamics Of Vitamin D In Hospital Foals
Ramiro Toribio, The Ohio State University
Critically ill foals often have low blood levels of vitamin D; our goal is to investigate if their levels over time are associated with the severity of their disease and mortality.

Asthma, Performance And Omega-3s In Racing Thoroughbreds
Laurent Couetil, Purdue University
Investigating the variability of asthma severity in horses racing across the U.S., its effect on performance and determine if omega-3 pufa supplementation is beneficial.

Anti-Pnag Plasma For Preventing R. Equi Foal Pneumonia
Noah Cohen, Texas A&M University
Transfusion of plasma is the only licensed product for preventing rhodococcus equi pneumonia, and demonstrate that we have developed a plasma product superior to that available currently.

Effect Of Nebulized Lidocaine In Treating Equine Asthma
Melissa Mazan, Tufts University
Evaluating the efficacy of inhaled lidocaine in equine asthma in reducing airway inflammation and hyper- responsiveness by promoting an anti-inflammatory lung environment.

Effect Of NSAIDs On Anion Transport In The Equine Colon
David Freeman, University of Florida
This proposal is designed to improve management of horses with right dorsal colitis, an insidious life- threatening form of colic for which all horses on phenylbutazone are at risk.

Nocardioform Placentitis
University Of Kentucky
Sample collection and storage of tissue for future research and testing for nocardioform placentitis.

Protein Based In Vivo Diagnostic For Endometrial Biofilm
Mats Troedsson, University Of Kentucky
Successful management of bacterial biofilms in the uterus requires an accurate diagnostic in vivo assay that we propose to develop.

Novel Delivery Of Antimicrobials Into Equine Joint
Simon Bailey, University of Melbourne
The development and testing of, a novel (gel) carrier formulation for the antibiotic Cefuroxime, injection into horses’ joints for application as a treatment of joint infections.

Diagnostic Assay For Recurrent Exertional Rhabdomyolysis
Molly McCue, University Of Minnesota
Identify a comprehensive set of genetic markers that allow RER risk prediction before horses tie-up and preemptive management to decrease the frequency and severity of clinical disease.

Inhibiting EHV-1 With Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Arthur Frampton, University Of N. Carolina Wilmington
Using a tissue culture model system to test the ability of specific drugs to reduce the damaging hyper- inflammatory response that is observed in EHV-1 infected horses suffering from equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM).

The Storm Cat Career Development Award, inaugurated in 2006, grants $15,000 to an individual considering a career in equine research. This year’s recipient is Sherry A. Johnson, Colorado State University. Dr. Johnson completed her sports medicine and rehabilitation residency in conjunction with her master’s program and now is in the second year of her PhD program. Her project, “Validation of Blood Flow Restriction Training in Horses,” represents her passion of researching soft tissue injury and rehabilitation.

Details on the new projects are available at the following link:

Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is traditionally the nation’s leading source of equine research funding. The projects it supports enhance the health and safety of horses of all breeds. Additional information about the foundation is available at