When Courtney King-Dye learned her Olympic mount Mythilus had tested positive for a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug called Felbinac, the first thing she had to do was find out what the drug was.
“Neither I nor my vets had ever heard of the drug Felbinac until we got the call about Myth’s positive test,” said King-Dye. “We were stunned and baffled. We spent the entire day doing internet research on the uses for this drug and how it could possibly have gotten into my horse’s system. As far as we could find it is not even manufactured, approved or available in the United States.”
When Mythilus arrived in Hong Kong he was treated at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Clinic for atrial fibrillation as a result of stress from his trip. U.S. Equestrian Federation Veterinarian Dr. Rick Mitchell attended to the horse in close cooperation with the Veterinary Commission. King-Dye and Mitchell believe that during treatment at the clinic, he may have come in contact with Felbinac. In discussion with King-Dye, USEF vets, grooms and physical therapists, no other explanation or conclusion seemed possible.
“My horse has had no soundness problems whatsoever, and I would have no need for an anti-inflammatory,” said King-Dye. “Anyone who knows me knows whole-heartedly that I would never dope my horse intentionally. It is cheating; it is not putting your best against the other’s best. I have never been in a more torturous and frustrating situation; trying to prove innocence is very hard. It saddens me beyond description that my whole reputation could be blackened because of this situation.”
The FEI Tribunal stated in their preliminary decision that “there are circumstances in this case that makes it difficult to clear out how the Prohibited Substance entered into the horse’s system.”
“The USEF stands behind the FEI’s initiatives to rid the sport of doping and to protect the welfare of our horses. We are equally supportive of Courtney in this situation as this substance was unknown to any of us until a few days ago,” said USEF CEO John Long. “It seems clear that Mythilus came into contact with it without Courtney’s or Dr. Mitchell’s knowledge.”