Daniel takes over from Zipf as Maryland state veterinarian

Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Daniel began her new duties Jan. 1 as state veterinarian for the Maryland Racing Commission. She replaces Dr. David Zipf, who retired from the post at the end of 2016.

Daniel has served as state vet for the West Virginia Racing Commission at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, and said she will continue in that role. Charles Town, located not far from Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course, and the Maryland State Fair at Timonium, races in the evening except for a handful of days each year.

A resident of Charles Town, Daniel was state vet at the West Virginia track from 1997-2001 and then moved into small animal veterinary medicine. She returned to the Charles Town post about six years ago.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Daniel said of her new position in Maryland. “The horsemen welcomed me with open arms. I had been substituting in Maryland for the last two years and was lucky enough to get on board here full time.”

As for pulling double duty in Maryland and at Charles Town, Daniel said: “I’m a workaholic. I got that from my dad. I learned a lot from him before I went to vet school, so when I learned the medicine behind it that made it much easier to understand.”

MRC Executive Director Mike Hopkins noted that the hiring of a new state vet is unrelated the proposed position of Equine Medical Director, which has been in the works for a while.

A 2013 review of the MRC by the Maryland Department of Legislative Services recommended the hiring of an EMD. “While the MRC has been fulfilling its mandate, the commission could benefit from additional resources to effectively implement recently approved health and safety regulations and enhance its regulatory oversight, including an Equine Medical Director, a second investigator, and a deputy director.”

The report also notes an EMD could “ensure compliance with the recently adopted stringent equine testing and drug policies.” Maryland was at the forefront of adoption of what became the National Uniform Medication Program.

Zipf, who spent more than 50 years a vet in the Maryland racing industry, received the 2016 Joe Kelly Maryland Million Unsung Hero Award for his many years of service.

“Dr. Zipf has provided more than 50 years of veterinary service to the Maryland horse racing industry,” Hopkins said. “Throughout that time he has provided, and continues to offer, the industry with a wealth of knowledge and personal commitment to the health, safety and welfare of the horses that compete in Maryland.”

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