Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, an equine orthopedic veterinary expert at Colorado State University, is part of a group that received a prestigious Special Eclipse Award earlier this month. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers Association presented the award to the "On Call" media-assistance program of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). The Special Eclipse Award honors outstanding individual achievements in, or contributions to, the sport of Thoroughbred racing.
"It is an incredible honor for the On Call program to be recognized for its contributions to racing and its role in increasing the public's knowledge of horse health issues," said David L. Foley, AAEP executive director. "We dedicate this award to the many AAEP members who have volunteered their time and expertise to serve the industry, the media and, most importantly, the horse."
Dr. McIlwraith is a Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and Director of the Orthopaedic Research Center. The Center treats orthopedic injuries in the world's finest horses and investigates orthopedic treatments and preventive medicine, some of which also can be applied to human medicine.
The On Call group was formed in the wake of accidents and injuries that occurred in the 1990 Breeders' Cup and the lack of equine medical information available to the viewing public. Since its creation in 1991, On Call has developed into an innovative media-assistance program of equine professionals who provide accurate veterinary information to the broadcast and print media during live network races. More than 20 media-trained equine veterinarians are available to respond to crisis situations at 100 televised races throughout the year or whenever there's a need to address a media inquiry about matters that affect horses' health and safety, such as the national inquiries that followed Barbaro's injury at the Preakness in 2006.
Dr. McIlwraith has served with Dr. Larry Bramlage of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, Lexington, Ky., as the AAEP On Call veterinarian for the World Thoroughbred Championships since the inception of the program. Dr. McIlwraith is also the On Call veterinarian for the Championship Quarter Horse races at Los Alamitos.