Cornell horse hospital set for closed Elmont site

The Ruffian Equine Medical Center in Elmont is The Ruffian Equine Medical Center in Elmont is closed. It had received a break on Hempstead Town taxes, but failed anyway. (March 16, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday / Karen Wiles Stabile

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A happy ending may be in store for the troubled Ruffian Equine Medical Center after Cornell University announced Tuesday it will establish a horse hospital on the closed Elmont site.

The university's veterinary college has signed a lease-buy agreement with Racebrook Capital Advisors LLC to establish the Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists, which will be a specialty, referral and emergency care hospital, university officials said.

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The hospital is expected to open April 1 and will offer elective equine specialty services to horses that are referred by attending veterinarians. By spring 2015, full emergency and critical-care services will be offered, university officials said.

The Ruffian Equine Medical Center operated for just several months before shutting down. In 2009, The Hempstead Industrial Development Agency had approved tax breaks for International Equine Acquisition Holdings, a Long Island horse breeder that owned Big Brown, winner of the 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. The IDA canceled the agreement in December 2012 after the company failed to make a $21,000 semiannual payment. It was put up for auction in May.

The hospital was a two-story structure on Plainfield Avenue next to Belmont Park.

The new facility, at 22,000 square feet, will offer state-of-the-art surgical, imaging, diagnostic and rehabilitation services. It will be staffed by Cornell veterinarians and technicians.

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"We are looking forward to joining the well-established horse racing and sport horse communities in the area, adding value to veterinarians, trainers and owners in the region and supporting the critical equine industry in the state of New York," said Dr. Michael I. Kotlikoff, dean of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine, in a news release.

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