Day At The Track

Delaware Harness Commission shock horsemen

10:22 PM 07 Jun 2018 NZST
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Delaware Harness Racing Commission drops bombshell on horseman

Just as Delaware Governor John Carney on Tuesday made the first legal single game sports wager in the country outside of Nevada, the US Postal Service was bringing harness racing horsemen and women in the First State letters that has created quite a stir.

The Delaware Harness Racing Commission has sent registered letters to owners and trainers asking for very specific horse records to be sent to them. Horse people who reside outside of Delaware have also received the letter if they raced a horse in the state.

The letter starts off “The Delaware Harness Racing Commission (DHRC) is conducting an in-depth review of the ownership and management of horses raced at Delaware tracks over the past few years.

What they are asking for includes showing the purchasing and selling prices on all horse; record of payments from racetracks; documentation of payments to all owners; training bill to all owners, bank statement, tax returns, 1099’s and W-2’s and the list goes on and on, more than 20 items are being asked for.

Harnesslink talked with noted attorney and prominent harness racing owner, Howard Taylor, who also received a letter today.

“I got one,” Taylor started off saying. “What they are asking for is worse than an IRS audit.

“I am going to comply to the best of my ability within reason,” Taylor explained. “They say in the letter that they are looking for is hidden ownership. I am not going to give them a lot of items including my tax returns. I don’t keep 1099’s and I don’t know what my accountant does with them.

“They ask for, which is unbelievable,” Taylor added. “Is for mine and my spouse’s financial incomes. They want access to my personal business records. I don’t think so.”

Taylor said his has talked to numerous horse people Wednesday.

“My phone has been exploding all day,” Taylor exaggerated. “One client I talked to said he has already talked with his accountant and was told it could cost up to $10,000 to comply. I also had another call from an owner who said he might just get out of the business.

“I talked with another attorney,” Taylor said. “and he said if everyone were to comply the files would fill a warehouse. This could take nine agents up to a year to go through everything.

“I also got a letter with the names of my horses that they want full records on,” Taylor said. “And one of the horses on the list I don’t ever remember owning. I had five horses on my list. Another owner I talked with said he has 80 horses on his list.”

What is next for the horsemen and women to do?

“I really don’t have a lot of answers right now,” Taylor said. “I have yet to even talk with the horsemen’s association in Delaware.

Taylor said legal proceedings are being developed.

If people do not comply with what the Delaware Harness Racing Commission is requesting, the letter states that…”failure to supply the requested information may result in horses being placed on the Steward’s list. In addition, other penalties may apply including fines and suspension or revocation of your license.”

By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink


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