Trainer Justin Abbott in trouble again

12:41 AM 28 Jun 2014 NZST
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Justin Abbott in trouble in the US and Australia
Justin Abbott in trouble in the US and Australia

ABBOTT WAS DEPORTED FROM THE USA IN 2003

Justin Abbott has the rare harness racing distinction of now being royally sacked by racing Steward’s on both sides of the world.

Racing Queensland Stewards yesterday issued eight (8) charges pursuant to the Australian Harness Racing Rules against licensed harness trainer Mr Justin Abbott. These charges arose from an inquiry that was commenced following the improved performance of FOLDEM at Albion Park on Monday 17 March 2014. Mr Abbott was stood down by Stewards under Australian Harness Rule 183 (d) on 21 March 2014 on the basis of evidence gathered during the Stewards investigations.

The name Justin Abbott is also quite familar to harness racing people in the United States too, and for some wrong reasons. Back in 2000 to 2003, Abbott was a licensed trainer/driver in the USA. Although he did not drive that much he did train quite a number of horses, mainly at the Meadowlands and over the four year period sent out 172 winners and purses won in the amount of $2,295,349. At one point he was the fourth leading trainer at the Meadowlands.

Then in 2003 he was the agressor in a fight with another trainer at Freehold Raceway which resulted in a $500 fine and 75 day suspension. Then the roof fell in as he was handed a 22 month suspension for falsifiying licensing information.

Abbott was then arrested and was deported back to Australia by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in the wake of the investigation of his altercation with another trainer, as authorities discovered that the information he supplied to the police didn’t match his information on his New Jersey racing commission license.

The Racing Queensland Stewards charges and their particulars are as follows:

Charge 1 is under Rule 44(1) which reads:

A driver or 1 or more of the connections of a horse intending to adopt during a race tactics contrary to the horse’s usual racing pattern shall, as soon as practicable, so notify the Stewards.

The specifics of the charge being that Mr Justin Abbott, as the trainer of FOLDEM when it raced in Race 6 at Albion Park on Monday, 17 March 2014, failed to notify Stewards of your intention to adopt tactics contrary to its usual racing pattern in that FOLDEM showed gate speed and was driven forward from barrier 6 on the front row and led which was in contrast to the manner in which the horse was driven on Monday, 10 March 2014 from barrier 1 on the front row and was positioned three back on the marker pegs.

Charge 2 is under Rule 273(5) which reads:

A person shall not without the approval of the Stewards change the registered gear of a horse.

The specifics of the charge being that Mr Justin Abbott, as the trainer of FOLDEM when it raced in Race 6 at Albion Park on Monday, 10 March 2014, changed the registered gear of that horse without the approval of the Stewards, namely by presenting the horse to race in an open bridle when its registered gear indicated the horse should race in blinkers (block).

Charge 3 is also under Rule 273(5), the specifics being that Mr Justin Abbott, as the trainer of FOLDEM when it raced in Race 6 at Albion Park on Monday, 17 March 2014, changed the registered gear of that horse without the approval of the Stewards, namely by presenting the horse to race in blinkers (hood) when its registered gear indicated the horse should race in blinkers (block).

Charge 4 is under Rule 235A(1) which reads:

A trainer must not lay any horse that is either under his care, control or supervision or has been in the preceding 21 days.

The specifics of the charge being that Mr Justin Abbott, as the trainer of OHOKA BOSTON when it raced in Race 1 at Redcliffe on Wednesday, 19 February 2014, did lay that horse via his Betfair account when it had been under his care, control and supervision, and as a result of the horse not placing, received $235.00.

Charge 5 is also under Rule 235A(1), the specifics being that Mr Justin Abbott, as the trainer of ALTA MARIO when it raced in Race 4 at Albion Park on Monday, 10 March 2014, did lay that horse via his Betfair account when it had been under his care, control and supervision, and as a result of the horse not placing, received $97.55.

Charge 6 is also under Rule 235A(1), the specifics being that Mr Justin Abbott, as the trainer of FOLDEM when it raced in Race 6 at Albion Park on Monday, 10 March 2014, did lay that horse via his Betfair account when it had been under his care, control and supervision, and as a result of the horse not winning, received $811.00.

Charge 7 is under Rule 243 which reads:

A person employed, engaged or participating in the harness racing industry shall not behave in a way which is prejudicial or detrimental to the industry.

The specifics of the charge being, that Mr Justin Abbott, as the trainer of FOLDEM, engaged in the following behaviour in respect of that horse between 9 March 2014 and 18 March 2014:

  1. Mr Abbott presented FOLDEM to race in Race 6 at Albion Park on Monday, 10 March 2014 in gear which had not been approved by Stewards, namely an open bridle. FOLDEM was the odds-on favourite at $1.80 on Tattsbet. The horse performed below expectation based on its Victorian form, placing sixth.Mr Abbott layed FOLDEM that day and received $811.00 as a result of the horse not winning.Following this, FOLDEM raced in Race 6 at Albion Park on Monday, 17 March 2014. Mr Abbott failed to notify Stewards of a change in driving tactics and further failed to seek approval to change the registered gear of the horse, namely that it was presented in blinkers (hood). FOLDEM’s performance was improved on this occasion and it won the race paying $2.40 on Tattsbet.Mr Abbott placed two bets on FOLDEM to win via his Betfair account and profited in the amount of $810.00.An associate of Mr Abbotts, namely Mr Saverio (Sam) Treccase, and his brother Mr Robert Treccase, also layed FOLDEM on 10 March 2014 and backed it to win on 17 March 2014.

This conduct was prejudicial and detrimental to the industry in that a reasonable person would likely perceive Mr Abbott’s behaviour on the whole as undermining the integrity of the harness racing industry and the very act of a trainer laying his own horse and profiting from such creates the suspicion that Mr Abbott, and others associated with Mr Abbott, gained an unfair advantage as a result.

Charge 8 is under Rule 247 which reads:

A person attending before the Controlling Body its members or employees, the Stewards, officials, or at any proceeding under these rules, shall not speak or behave in a malicious, intimidatory or otherwise improper manner.

The specifics of the charge being that on 3 April 2014 when RQ Stewards David Farquharson, Norm Torpey and John Hackett were in attendance at Mr Abbott’s stables and residence exercising powers under the Australian Harness Racing Rules, Mr Abbott stated to the Stewards words that, in the circumstances of the ongoing inquiry, were intimidatory and otherwise improper in that they were designed to intimidate, and undermine the Stewards and to influence the Stewards’ conduct of the inquiry.

Mr Abbot has been given until Monday 7 July 2014 to respond to the charges.

by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

 

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