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HARNESS Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards conducted an inquiry on Monday February 4, 2019, in relation to a report from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) that cocaine was detected in the urine sample taken from MY WHISKEY LULLABY NZ following its win in Race 5, the NAVAL ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA PACE (2125m) at Penrith on Thursday October 18, 2018. The ‘B’ sample was confirmed by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) in Victoria. Licensed trainer Mr Richard Baverstock and stablehand Mr Adam Baverstock appeared at the inquiry. Evidence including the Reports of Analysis were presented and HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Martin Wainscott also presented evidence to the inquiry. HRNSW Stewards issued the following charge against Mr Richard Baverstock pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190 (1), (2), (3) & (4) as follows: AHRR 190.  (1)  A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. (2)  If a horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1) the trainer of the horse is guilty of an offence. (3)  If a person is left in charge of a horse and the horse is presented for a race otherwise than in accordance with sub rule (1), the trainer of the horse and the person left in charge is each guilty of an offence. (4)  An offence under sub rule (2) or sub rule (3) is committed regardless of the circumstances in which the prohibited substance came to be present in or on the horse. Mr Richard Baverstock was found guilty and disqualified for a period of two years and six months commencing from December 21, 2018, the date upon which he was stood down. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following: Mr Richard Baverstock’s involvement in the harness racing industry, his licence history and offence record; Class 1 Prohibited Substance; The seriousness of the offence; No previous prohibited substance matters; Mr Richard Baverstock’s personal subjective facts; Mr Richard Baverstock’s not guilty plea. Acting under the provisions of AHRR 195, MY WHISKEY LULLABY NZ was disqualified from the abovementioned race. Mr Richard Baverstock was advised of his right to appeal. HRNSW Stewards issued a charge against Mr Adam Baverstock pursuant to AHRR 190(1), (3) & (4) in relation to the results of the urine sample obtained from MY WHISKEY LULLABY NZ. Mr Adam Baverstock was found guilty and disqualified for three years nine months to commence from January 22, 2019, the date upon which he was stood down. In considering that penalty, Stewards were mindful of the following: Mr Adam Baverstock’s involvement in the harness racing industry, his licence history and offence record; Class 1 Prohibited Substance; The seriousness of the offence; No previous prohibited substance matters; Mr Adam Baverstock’s personal subjective facts; Mr Adam Baverstock’s not guilty plea. In addition, HRNSW Stewards issued a charge against Mr Adam Baverstock pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 250A(1)(a) as follows: 250A.  (1)  A person carrying on or purporting to carry on an activity regulated by licence at any time or carrying on official duties at a meeting commits an offence if: (a)  a sample taken from him or her is found upon analysis to contain a substance banned by Rule 251A. That charge related to a urine sample taken from Mr Adam Baverstock on Monday December 17, 2018. A report from Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) certified the presence of the cocaine metabolites Ecgonine Methylester and Benzoylecgonine. The ‘B’ sample was confirmed by the ChemCentre in Western Australia. In relation to that charge, Mr Adam Baverstock was suspended for a period of six months to commence from January 22, 2019, the date upon which he was stood down. In considering that penalty, Stewards were mindful of the following: Mr Adam Baverstock’s involvement in the harness racing industry, his licence history and offence record; The seriousness of the offence; The prohibited substances involved; No previous prohibited substance matters; Mr Adam Baverstock’s personal subjective facts; Mr Adam Baverstock’s not guilty plea. The Stewards ordered that the penalties imposed upon Mr Adam Baverstock are to be served concurrently. Mr Adam Baverstock was advised of his right to appeal.     Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by a Board of Directors and is independent of Government. HRNSW INTEGRITY CONTACTS: MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  mprentice@hrnsw.com.au GRANT ADAMS | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600 •  gadams@hrnsw.com.au

Melbourne Cup-winning horse trainer Darren Weir and two other men have been arrested in police raids at Weir's Victorian properties. Victoria Police said the raids were part of a Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit investigation into alleged corruption in racing. In a statement, police said the men were arrested for questioning as part of an investigation into suspected offences including obtaining financial advantage by deception, engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome, use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes, attempting to obtain financial advantage by deception. A 26-year-old man and a 38-year-old man were also arrested. Weir, 48, is widely regarded as Australia's leading horse trainer and trained the 2015 Melbourne Cup-winning horse Prince of Penzance, which jockey Michelle Payne rode to victory. At the end of last year, harness racing in New Zealand was rocked by allegations of race-fixing. It's believed that a number of high profile figures in harness racing were the target of raids around the country. Most of those accused have been granted name suppression and are due to appear in court this year. In a statement, Racing Victoria's general manager of integrity, Jamie Stier, said the police raids were linked to an investigation by the racing body. "Racing Victoria's Integrity Services team has been conducting an investigation into the activities of licensed persons in the Warrnambool and Ballarat areas," he said. "During the course of our investigation we sought the support of Victoria Police's Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit." Mr Stier said members of Racing Victoria's integrity team joined police on the raids at the properties. "Racing Victoria is committed to maintaining the highest integrity standards in our sport and, where appropriate, we will continue to work with Victoria Police on those investigations." Police said a firearm and "what is believed to be a conducted energy device" were also seized. Weir has a high-tech training facility at Miners Rest and a beach stable in Warrnambool. Police searched a truck at the trainer's Miners Rest property this morning, going through its cab and the vehicle's exterior. Victoria's Racing Minister, Martin Pakula, said he was aware of the police investigation and did not want to say anything to prejudice its outcome. "I would simply say as a racing fan and as the Racing Minister, integrity in our sport is incredibly important and any allegation of a breach of the rules of racing is extremely disappointing," he said. "It is important to note that this is another demonstration that our racing integrity unit within Racing Victoria will pursue any matter without fear or favour, and that is clearly what they have done." Reprinted with permission of Radio New Zealand

MGM Resorts International and its real estate arm, MGM Growth Properties, have finalized their $850 million purchase of the Empire City Casino and its 97 acres of developable land in Yonkers, New York, just 15 miles north of Manhattan’s Times Square. The purchase gives MGM — which opened its $960 million MGM Springfield resort casino in August — a fourth property in the Northeast. MGM bought out its partner and took control of the Borgata in Atlantic City and opened MGM National Harbor in Maryland, both in 2016. MGM Springfield President and CEO Michael Mathis said MGM’s operation in Yonkers will help it market MGM Springfield, especially through MGM’s M life rewards program. “The Empire City Casino acquisition in Yonkers is designed to tap into the underserved NY market, which will complement the MGM Springfield market. MGM’s unmatched East Coast presence in major markets allows for significant cross marketing and customer loyalty programming that offer us a clear competitive edge. We are well positioned to be a leader in the Northeast’s multi-billion dollar gaming market," Mathis wrote in an email. The New York Gaming Commission approved the deal Monday, as well as MGM’s permission to run harness racing at the 120-year-old track. Continued racing is a requirement under Empire City Casino’s license to run slot machines. “We are pleased to welcome the 1,200 employees at Empire City Casino to the MGM Resorts family,” said Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts, in a news release. “With this new addition to the MGM Resorts portfolio, we have now gained a foothold in the high-density New York City region and we look forward to leveraging the MGM platform to maximize value in this evolving marketplace.” Tribal Winds: East Windsor casino project has new name, new push from Foxwoods and Mohegan to compete with MGM Springfield This comes as the Connecticut legislature is asked to pass legislation allowing casino expansion to East Windsor. MGM bought the property from the Rooney family, owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers and owners of Yonkers Raceway since 1972. The Empire City Casino opened in 2006. “What’s incredibly exciting is the amount of opportunity MGM Resorts will bring to the employees at Empire City, as well as Westchester County, the city of Yonkers, and the State of New York,” said Timothy J. Rooney, president and CEO of Empire City Casino, in a news release. “With destinations throughout the world, from resorts to casinos to entertainment, MGM has a tried-and-true formula for success. ... the potential for growth at Empire City has absolutely no boundaries.” Over the years, MGM has told investors it plans to leverage the marketing power of its East Coast casinos, offering package deals and cross promotions to get visitors moving among the casinos and looking to MGM’s Vegas properties for longer vacations. MGM is also in the final stages of buying Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in Ohio for $1 billion. Empire City Casino is 125 miles and a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Springfield. Empire City doesn’t have state permission to run table games. It offers slot-machine-like electronic games at 5,200 video-lottery terminals operated by the state lottery. MGM Resorts said will pay an additional $50 million to the Rooneys if Empire City is awarded a license for live table games by the end of 2022 and if MGM Resorts gets the license by the end of 2024. But New York has a moratorium on new casino development until 2023. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the news website Lohud.com that he is aware that MGM would like to get a full casino with table games in Yonkers, but didn’t indicate he would look to make any changes to the time frame. “I know it’s a topic of conversation, but I have no opinion or intention of making any changes at this time," Cuomo said. "It’s an evolving field, there’s no doubt about that.” The website USBets said MGM might relocate the required harness racing meet to Belmont Park, a thoroughbred track and home of the Belmont Stakes, to free up space for development at the Yonkers track. By Jim Kinney Reprinted with permission of the MassLive.com site

Some prominent New Zealand harness racing identities caught up in the police race-fixing probe are trying to avoid a criminal conviction on non-race related charges, while other charges have been dropped, it's been revealed today. Widespread suppression orders mean that for now their names still remain a secret while their cases go through the judicial system. Some who have been denied name suppression by a district court judge have appealed the decision to the High Court which will hear their cases next month. Today at Christchurch District Court, two people had their cases put off for the diversion scheme for first offenders to be considered – a chance to avoid a formal court prosecution. One of them also had two charges - unrelated to race-fixing – dropped. Another person arrested over the 18-month Operation Inca investigation by the National Organised Crime Group denied four charges – again not race-fixing related – and elected through defence counsel James Rapley QC to stand trial by jury. A fourth person denied five non-racing charges and also elected to face a jury trial. They will all be back in court on March 25, when another nine harness racing figures arrested after Operation Inca will appear for a Crown case review hearing. The charges came after raids on multiple stables and properties in Canterbury, Invercargill, Manawatu and Auckland late last year. In December, a male driver in his 50s was charged with conspiring with another person to manipulate a race result last year by "administering a substance" to a horse before the race "in order to gain a pecuniary advantage, namely the winning stakes". He denied the charge and elected trial by jury. North Canterbury trainer Andrew Douglas Stuart, 42, faces four race-fixing allegations, while Graham Henry Beirne, a 71-year-old Christchurch man, has previously denied two race fixing charges and is yet to enter a plea on a third charge. A 40-year old Canterbury man denies three race-fixing charges and is yet to enter pleas on three unrelated drugs charges. Three other men – aged 50, 35 and 26 – deny race-fixing allegations, as does Palmerston North man Brent Stephen Wall, 47, and 44-year-old Rolleston-based horse trainer Nigel Raymond McGrath. Others face drugs charges that their lawyers say is unconnected to the horse racing investigation, including Elie Sawma, a 42-year-old Christchurch hairdresser charged with supplying the Class B controlled drug MDMA, possession of MDMA, and offering to supply the Class A drug cocaine.   By Kurt Bayer Reprinted with permission of nzherald.co.nz

TRENTON, NJ — January 28, 2019 — The New Jersey state Assembly Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a bill that would provide  a five-year appropriation of $20 million a year to benefit the New Jersey breeding program and open spaces and the New Jersey Sire Stakes and the purses at the Meadowlands Racetrack, Monmouth Park and Freehold Raceway. The New Jersey Racing Commission would distribute the funds to the three racetracks and it would provide a much-needed boost to the standardbred and Thoroughbred industry in New Jersey. The complete state Assembly will vote on the bill on Thursday January 31, 2019.  Should the bill pass the Assembly, it would then go to Governor Phil Murphy for approval before it can become a law. Courtney Stafford

STATE COLLEGE — This usually quiet town finds itself still shaking from Thursday’s late-night tragedy in which a gunman killed four people, including himself. “Relatively speaking,” State College Police Chief John Gardner said at a press conference Friday, “State College is one of the safest places in America.” That classification was challenged at 10:14 p.m. Thursday when 21-year-old Jordan Witmer of Benner Township went on a shooting spree at P.J. Harrigan’s Bar & Grill, located at 1450 S. Atherton Street. Harrigan’s is attached to the Ramada Hotel. Pronounced dead Thursday night were Dean Beachy, 61, George McCormick, 83, and Witmer. Beachy’s son, 19-year-old Steven Beachy, died Friday. Nicole Abrino, 21, remains in critical condition after being transferred from Mount Nittany Medical Center to a Pittsburgh hospital. Gardner said police are trying to determine a motive and “make sense of what occurred.” Officers were first dispatched to Harrigan’s after a report of shots fired. Gardner said Witmer had arrived at the bar about 8:30 p.m. and was there with Abrino. Police are still trying to determine the exact relationship between Witmer and Abrino. According to police, at one point during the night, Witmer got up from his bar seat, walked to where the Beachys were seated and began shooting. Dean Beachy, a visiting auctioneer from Millersburg, Ohio, suffered a gunshot wound to the head and was pronounced dead at the scene. Steven Beachy suffered a torso wound and was taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center. He was transferred to UPMC Altoona, where he was pronounced dead at 1 p.m. Friday, Centre County Deputy Coroner Debra Smeal told the Millersburg (Ohio) Daily Record. Dean Beachy was listed as an auctioneer at a standard-bred horse auction at Penns Valley Livestock in Centre Hall, the Record reported. Abrino suffered a chest wound. According to police, after the shooting, Witmer fled and crashed his car at the intersection of Waupelani Drive and Tussey Lane at about 10:46 p.m. Officers found Witmer’s vehicle unoccupied, and at 11:09 p.m., State College police were dispatched to 748 Tussey Lane — McCormick’s home — for a reported burglary in progress with shots fired. Gardner said Witmer entered the McCormick residence by shooting a sliding glass door and then kicking his way in. Officers entered at approximately 11:14 p.m. and found McCormick deceased with a gunshot wound to his head. Witmer was found deceased in the living room from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. McCormick’s wife, Joann, 80, was unharmed. She had locked herself in the bedroom and called 911. As questions persisted Friday about the shooter and his motive, Gardner reminded, “What I don’t want to have lost here … four people lost their lives.” Gardner said an investigation revealed that there was no relationship between Witmer and the McCormicks, and it is believed he chose the home at random after crashing his vehicle. After describing the incident, Gardner took time to address some issues regarding the timeliness of certain warnings. Gardner said he wanted “to stress more than anything” that the first thing officers did after collecting relevant information was to send that information to other law enforcement bodies, including Pennsylvania State Police. This information included a description of the suspect. Gardner noted that by the time he arrived on scene at 11:15 p.m., a lot of the information had already been dispersed through local television and social media. “If there’s one thing I think we, myself in particular as the police chief here, could have done better is to release information sooner that the threat had been eliminated,” he said. “We knew there was no more threat to the public,” Gardner said, adding that “in hindsight” he wishes the information had been released sooner so the public hadn’t remained in a “heightened state.” On social media in particular, several Penn State students expressed concern over the fact that no university alert was sent out. Gardner said that during the incident there were “no immediate threats to Penn State or its students,”in part due to the fact that the shooting took place miles off campus. Gardner said the shooting was “a State College incident, not a university incident,” which contributed to the university’s decision not to send out an alert. Penn State issued a statement Friday, saying it was “deeply saddened by the senseless acts of violence that have occurred and our thoughts are with the victims and their families” and adding that it was in touch with State College police Thursday night and was “monitoring the rapidly unfolding off-campus incident.” “The decision to send an action alert is made on a case-by-case basis for each situation, and is based on information available to Penn State Police at the time of the event,” the statement read. “We always review our responses to these incidents and will adjust our processes as needed.” The police department is in the process of investigating more on Witmer’s background, Gardner said. A 2015 Bellefonte High School graduate, Witmer was in the military, but it is unclear whether he was active duty or had just gotten out. Gardner said Witmer had a legal permit to carry a gun. Gardner said the case isn’t “open and closed” because Witmer took his own life, adding that the department will work as long as possible to determine exactly what happened. Gardner said an investigation into whether or not there were drugs or alcohol in Witmer’s system is being conducted. Gardner said mass shootings are “not very common” in the area. A sign on the door at Harrigan’s said the bar would be closed through the weekend and expressed condolences to the victims. Mirror copy editor Sarah Vasile can be reached at 949-7029. Reprinted with permission of The Altoona Mirror ............................................................................... From the USTA Columbus, OH — Dean W. Beachy 62, of Millersburg, OH, died Thursday, January 24, 2019, in State College, Pa. a victim of a random shooting. His son Steven also died as a result of the shooting. Born January 16, 1957, he was a son of the late Albert J. and Emma Jean (Beachy) Beachy. Dean was a renowned harness racing auctioneer and a member of Walnut Creek Mennonite Church. He is survived by his wife, the former Linda Meader, whom he married September 21, 1991. Also surviving are his children Robert Joseph Beachy, Benjamin Dean Beachy, David Albert Beachy, (Steven Lee Beachy, also a victim of the shooting) all from Walnut Creek, 2 sisters Wilma Mae (Daniel) Yoder of Medina, N.Y., Diane Sue Beachy of Walnut Creek and a sister-in-law Esther Beachy of Winesburg. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Dale Lee Beachy. Funeral services will be held Tuesday, January 29, 2019, at 11:00 AM at the Mt. Hope Event Center in Mt. Hope with Pastor Don Hamsher officiating. A private burial will be held prior to services. Friends may call at the event center Sunday from 5 to 8 PM and Monday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 PM. Smith-Varns Funeral Home in Sugarcreek is handling the arrangements. To share a memory, please visit the funeral home’s web site. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Walnut Creek Mennonite Missions Program (330-852-2560).  Steven Lee Beachy, 19, dies Steven Lee Beachy 19, Millersburg, OH, died Friday, January 25, 2019, in Altoona, Pa., a victim of a random shooting in State College, Pa on Thursday. His father, Dean W. Beachy, also died as a result of the shooting. Born June 22, 1999, in Canton he was a son Linda Mary Beachy and the late Dean W. Beachy. Steven was a horseman and a member of Walnut Creek Mennonite Church. In addition to his mother he is survived by 3 brothers Robert Joseph Beachy, Benjamin Dean Beachy and David Albert Beachy, all of Walnut Creek, a grandfather Bud Meader of Rochester, New Hampshire and aunts and uncles Diane Beachy, Esther Beachy, Daniel and Wilma Yoder, Dana and Lorraine Rines and Robert and Polly Meader.  Funeral services will be held Tuesday, January 29, 2019, at 11:00 AM at the Mt. Hope Event Center in Mt. Hope with Pastor Don Hamsher officiating. A private burial will be held prior to services. Friends may call at the event center Sunday from 5 to 8 PM and Monday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 PM. Smith-Varns Funeral Home in Sugarcreek is handling the arrangements. To share a memory, please visit the funeral home’s web site. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Walnut Creek Mennonite Missions Program. (330-852-2560).  The USTA Communications Department  

The 85th annual ARCI Conference on Racing Integrity and Animal Welfare will be held in Arcadia, California on April 2, 2019 - April 5, 2019. Registration is now open on Eventbrite. For those of you who need to pay by check, please contact me for an invoice. I will register you for the conference once payment is received in the ARCI office. Register on Eventbrite The event hotel will be the Embassy Suites in Arcadia. We have once again arranged a room block at the area per diem of $173 per night (not including tax.) Embassy offers free parking, a complimentary shuttle that will travel within a seven mile radius of the hotel, free breakfast, and a complimentary evening beer and wine reception. The room block is primarily set for Tuesday through Friday evening. If you attempt to book earlier and run into issues, please contact me and I'll assist you with making a reservation. Embassy Suites by Hilton Arcadia Pasadena Area 211 East Huntington Drive, Arcadia, California, 91006, USA TEL: +1-626-445-8525 FAX: +1-626-445-8548 The reservation link for the ARCI rate is below: https://secure3.hilton.com/en_US/es/reservation/book.htm?execution=e1s1 The preliminary agenda for the meeting is attached. Please contact me with any questions you have. We're looking forward to seeing you again at this year's conference! Rebecca Shoemaker Assistant to the President & CEO Association of Racing Commissioners International  

ASBURY PARK, NJ -- January 18, 2019 -- A testament to the harness racing and equine industry industry's viability is that horse racing has survived on its own without state support in New Jersey. Both Pennsylvania and New York supplement the expansion of gaming within their borders to promote their horse racing industry. This has resulted in a boom in both their racing and breeding programs. Due to New Jersey being in direct competition with these two bordering states, it has struggled to keep up the pace. Specifically, New Jersey has been unable to match the millions of dollars both Pennsylvania and New York are able to pump into purse accounts and enhancing breeding programs. A bill introduced in the New Jersey Legislature four months ago would provide a $20 million subsidy to the industry to make it more competitive. But it has been stalled, and if the legislation isn't approved soon, it could be too late. According to the United States Trotting Association, purse awards in New Jersey and surrounding states in 2007 were: New York $97,689,858; Pennsylvania $58,969,119; and New Jersey $68, 843,978. In comparison, by 2013, New Jersey's purse awards dropped by 54 percent while New York and Pennsylvania purse awards increased 23 percent and 83 percent respectively because they had the benefit of state support. As a 2014 Rutgers Equine Science Center report indicated, breeding also has been dramatically affected -- resulting in a decrease of jobs for New Jersey residents. For thoroughbreds the decrease for mares bred was 57 percent, stallions 43 percent and foals 44 percent. The decrease for the standardbred was far more drastic; mares bred down 77 percent, stallions down 64 percent, yearlings in the Sire Stakes program down 54 percent. The horse racing industry in New Jersey has an extensive and rich history. Two New Jersey racetracks that have roots in the mid-19th century are still in operation today. Freehold Raceway was established in 1853, The Monmouth Park racetrack has been a Shore tradition since 1870. Live harness racing began at the Meadowlands in 1976. In 2007, the New Jersey equine industry was valued at $4 billion and it produced an economic impact of $1.1 billion, comprised of the $278.2 million spent annually for racing-related operations, not including racetracks; $262.4 million spent annually by non-racing operations; $117.8 million spent annually by equine owners without operations; and $502 million spent annually by New Jersey racetracks. The industry employed approximately 13,000 persons and generated $160 million in tax revenue annually. In 2007, there were horses in 7,200 individual facilities on 176,000 acres statewide. In the last seven years, we have lost major standardbred farms. In 2013, Perretti Farms, once the 900-acre home of elite stallions and as many as 400 first-class broodmares, closed and was forced to sell all of their horses. Without the support of the state, the farm could not contend with surrounding states that enjoy state-supplemented purses. In 2015, the 150-plus acre Showplace Farms, a premier training center for more than 35 years and home to more than 400 standardbred racehorses, closed its doors citing "fewer horses racing and the current economic climate in New Jersey." The industry and horse farms not only aid and protect the preservation of open space in New Jersey, they support the entire agribusiness of hay producers, straw producers, grain producers, trainers, grooms, veterinarians, equine dentists and blacksmiths. If the horse racing industry fails, these support businesses stop production and contribution to the New Jersey economy as well. Even with all the decline within the industry in New Jersey, the Meadowlands Racetrack is still considered to be a foremost racetrack. The state stopped investing in horse racing, but the industry kept investing. Operators of the Meadowlands Racetrack opened off-track wagering (OTW) facilities in 2012 at a cost of $17 million and built a new grandstand at a cost of well over $100 million. Operators of Monmouth Park spent $7.5 million on improvements on equipment, operations and opening OTW locations. In 2014, Monmouth Park starting building a 7,500-seat concert hall and restaurant. If racing related-activities continue to leave New Jersey, the state stands to lose its premier agribusiness that generates $780 million in economic impact annually, including jobs, federal, state and local taxes and 57,000 acres of working agricultural landscape and open space. To view the full story. Mark Ford, president of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey.

A suspect is facing charges after releasing more than a dozen harness racing horses from the Stark County Fairgrounds. More than a dozen racehorses roamed the city’s west side early Monday morning after a man let the animals out of a barn at the Stark County Fairgrounds, police said. One of the horses later died after falling into the icy water at Meyers Lake. Canton Township firefighters tried to rescue the animal, but it drowned before it could be reached. Police and firefighters from several area departments, assisted by volunteers, managed to round up 14 other horses that were released and wandering area streets. Horses let loose from Stark County Fairgrounds, roam through Canton Dale Klick, president of the Stark County Agricultural Society, which operates the fairgrounds, said the 14 horses were returned to the barn and were seen by a veterinarian. Area trainers and owners board horses at the fairgrounds and use the track for training. The animals released Monday morning are harness racing horses that run at Northfield Park. Police arrested Jonathan D. Ford, 28, who formerly lived in Canton and now has a Mansfield address, on charges of breaking and entering, disrupting public service, inducing panic and possession of drugs. Police said Ford had two different types of marijuana when he was apprehended. He was taken to the Stark County Jail. Canton police haven’t determined why Ford released the horses, said Lt. Dennis Garren, public information officer. Police were called to the fairgrounds just before 5:30 p.m. and told the horses had been released. Ford was still on the property. Responding officers said Ford told them the horses wanted or needed to be freed. The horses ran through the neighborhood, police said. Officers and firefighters worked to keep the animals away from main streets, according to police reports. Perry Township police and firefighters and Canton Township firefighters helped with the effort. According to police, it took nearly two hours to get back to the barn. ShaneandRachel Taylor I took this video about 6am heading east on 12th to 13th St.. Just past Myers Lake. Did not want to turn light on camera. They already seemed pretty spooked. Facebook. Commented on The Canton Repository / CantonRep.com's public post Canton Township Fire Department’s water rescue team was called around 7:30 a.m. when a resident reported seeing an animal struggling in Meyers Lake. Firefighters arrived to find the horse swimming about 100 yards off shore. Assistant Chief Rick Morabito said thick ice near the shore made it difficult for the rescue team to get into the water quickly. The horse was treading and moving farther from shore as the rescue team reached open water. Morabito said the team was about 20 yards away when the animal went under. By Edd Pritchard  Reprinted with permission of the GateHouse Media Ohio  Reach Edd at 330-580-8484 or edd.pritchard@cantonrep.com On Twitter: @epritchardREP

Questioning a number of actions by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission in awarding a Standardbred license in the Oak Grove, Ky. area to a partnership of Churchill Downs Inc. and Keeneland, Kentucky Downs has appealed the regulator's decision to the Franklin (Ky.) Circuit Court of Appeals. In a Jan. 4 filing, Kentucky Downs asks the court to void a KHRC decision in late 2018 to award WKY Development (CDI-Keeneland) a license to conduct Standardbred racing and offer historical racing games. KHRC executive director Marc Guilfoil and general counsel John Forgy were not immediately available Jan. 8 for comment on the appeal. Kentucky Downs, in its appeal, says the KHRC acted arbitrarily in awarding a racing license to WKY Development. The track contends the regulator either failed to follow its process in awarding a license or that process was unclear. It says the regulator "admitted" in 2017 it didn't have a sufficient process or criteria in place to award a track license, but awarded a license in 2018 without putting that process in place. The appeal also contends that WKY Development didn't meet statutory or regulatory criteria, including what Kentucky Downs says is a requirement for a binding horsemen's agreement, which in this case would be the Kentucky Harness Horsemen's Association. The appeal also argues that the historical racing games at CDI's Derby City Gaming in Louisville "did not comply with Kentucky law at the time the commission approved WKY's application."  The KHRC voted Nov. 16 to award the Oak Grove license to WKY Development. At that time, the KHRC was fining Derby City Gaming $1,000 a day because the games there improperly included races where horses had been scratched. CDI has pointed out that the flaw didn't impact customers, as the system uses post positions to determine winning combinations. At a December meeting, KHRC staff said they hadn't found any evidence of customers being impacted, but also acknowledged that the fines continued. Kentucky Downs has contended that the new track will negatively impact its historical racing operations. The court filing said the regulator should have done more research in this regard and overall economic impact in the region and for racing in the state. "Based on the criteria that were in place in 2017 and 2018, the commission is required to consider construction cost estimates, revenue projections, market research studies, and to analyze whether the proposed projects are sustainable and in the best interest of the horse industry," Kentucky Downs wrote in its court appeal. "The commission must also consider the effect of the application on other existing racetracks." The Nov. 16 vote by the commission to award the license followed an Oct. 30 special meeting that exceeded 4 1/2 hours and ultimately saw a 7-5 vote to defer the decision. The KHRC had considered proposals from WKY Development, Kentucky Downs, and Caesars Entertainment. At that November meeting, WKY Development presented a plan that would see $150 million put toward a track, entertainment center, equestrian center, and hotel. Churchill Downs racetrack president Kevin Flanery noted the historic commitment of the two Thoroughbred tracks to Kentucky racing and the efforts they've made to generate support in the Oak Grove, Ky. area. He said historical racing would fund the Standardbred purses at the new track and additional money would be used to support Thoroughbred racing and The Red Mile harness track. Besides the purses supplied at the new track for 12 days of racing, which could be increased in future years, Flanery envisioned the historic racing facility, which would start as 1,200 machines with the possibility to expand to 1,500, generating $10 million for both Thoroughbred and Standardbred purses in the state.  Three days before the November meeting on the Oak Grove license, Kentucky Downs announced it had been sold to Kentucky Racing Acquisition, a new company co-founded by Ron Winchell and Marc Falcone. The new ownership continued Kentucky Downs' pursuit of the Oak Grove license. Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, it has the potential to slow plans. When WKY was awarded the Oak Grove license in November, Flanery said plans were "well on their way" for the new facility with a construction schedule that would allow racing there by the fall of 2019. Kentucky Downs' appeal said the KHRC had not put in place a process to consider requests for new licenses. It noted that in 2017, Churchill Downs and Keeneland had pursued racing licenses for two new facilities, but commission chairman Frank Kling Jr. and vice chairman John Roach issued a statement that they had informed Kentucky's tracks that the regulator would not be considering applications for new facilities in the state.  "At this time, neither of us have any plans to take any action related to this application or any other application for a new race track facility," said the September 2017 statement, which is referenced in the appeal. "It is our hope that in the future we will be able to develop a process and criteria to determine whether any new race track facilities are needed in the commonwealth." Kentucky Downs said it initially filed an appeal of the decision and request for an administrative hearing, but was summarily denied that request in a Dec. 28, 2018 letter from Forgy.  In its court appeal, Kentucky Downs said that any simulcasting rights at the new track would be contingent on Kentucky Downs' approval. The 92-page court filing says state regulations don't allow another simulcasting outlet within 50 miles of an existing outlet without consent of the existing outlet and Kentucky Downs has not granted the proposed track simulcasting rights. The Kentucky Downs appeal also contends that members of the KHRC may have conducted meetings in violation of Kentucky law and that, "on information or belief, one or more of the commissioners may have a financial interest in Churchill Downs, which is the principal member of WKY, but still voted." The appeal also questions votes by commissioners Foster Northrop and J. David Richardson, who both voted in favor of awarding WKY Development the license. When WKY Development in September announced plans to pursue a new track in the Oak Grove area, a public relations firm hired by WKY issued statements supporting a new track from Northrop and Richardson. At the time, the WKY proposal was the only publicly known group pursuing a license for the Oak Grove area. BloodHorse left phone messages with Northrop and Richardson offering a chance for comment that weren't immediately returned. By Frank Angst Reprinted with permission of Bloodhorse

Amid fears the loss of a proposed $140-million hotel-casino complex could cripple it, London's Western Fair District is already banking on other money —  not all of it certain — to keep the 150-year-old organization alive. Winded, but not down. Amid fears the loss of a proposed $140-million hotel-casino complex could cripple it, London’s Western Fair District is already banking on other money —  not all of it certain — to keep the 150-year-old organization alive. Part of that hope rests on the Ontario government, which the chief executive is counting on to extend a helping hand to the Western Fair’s horse-racing track, as it has done elsewhere in the province, even though Doug Ford’s government is battling a huge budget shortfall. Hugh Mitchell, president of the Western Fair District, said the organization asked the government seven weeks ago to shore up horse racing in London if the private casino operator that runs the slots pulls out of the site. Gateway Casinos and Entertainment, which had been locked in long-running negotiations to get a better lease deal at Western Fair, this week confirmed it has signed a lease in southwest London that will take it out of the fair district, planning instead to build a new casino complex along Wonderland Road near Wharncliffe Road.   Casino giant inks site deal to leave Western Fair District Canada’s largest private casino operator has ditched plans for a new hotel, restaurant and casino complex at the Western Fair grounds in London, instead inking a deal at a site in the city's south... Under the existing lease for the slots casino at the fairgrounds, Western Fair District rakes in $6.2 million a year — money that may be gone for good after the lease expires in March 2020 unless the Progressive Conservative government steps in to help fill the loss. “There’s a silver lining in every cloud, and we’ll find it,” Mitchell said Thursday, after issuing a news release that stressed Gateway’s move puts the fair’s horse racing “in jeopardy.” “The important thing is that we’re not asking for any more than the current lease than was negotiated with government for racing,” Mitchell said. But whether that help will come is far from a sure thing. The Ford government faces huge hurdles trying to whip Ontario’s budget red ink, which the province’s fiscal watchdog says will rise to $12.3 billion this year — half a billion dollars more than originally forecast. Asked by The Free Press whether the province plans to support horse racing at Western Fair, one London-area MPP in Ford’s cabinet was sparse on details. “The PC government understands the importance of live racing in Ontario, including here in London.  We will continue to support the industry moving forward,” Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek wrote in an emailed response. “However, this is a matter between Gateway, the City of London and the Western Fair. We’ll continue to monitor the situation closely,” added Yurek, the Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP. Support for horse racing, meaning help to pay racing purses that support the industry, was one of the reasons Ontario first located its mini-casinos with slot machines, like London’s, at racing locations. RELATED Casino giant inks site deal to leave Western Fair District City hall moves on rezoning for Gateway casino and hotel Is price paid for Southwestern Ontario casinos still a secret? You bet Western Fair boss focusing on big-ticket plans as departure nears Politicians endorse expanded gambling in London Ontario has since moved to get out of directly running gambling operations, hiving off big chunks of the business to private operators like Gateway, which was awarded gambling rights for much of Southwestern Ontario. The government announced this fall that slots will remain in a number of communities where the racing industry depends on the revenue, including in Hiawatha in Sarnia — just minutes away from a new casino opened by Gateway in Point Edward. That’s a good sign, politicians said Thursday. “Both the Western Fair and the city and the province seem to be committed to a vibrant harness racing industry,” said Coun. Josh Morgan, who also sits on the Western Fair board, but spoke in his capacity as a city politician. “Aside from harness racing, I’m not concerned about the viability of the Western Fair as an organization,” he said, adding it continues to diversify and add other business attractions, including its hockey arena, animal and trade shows and its farmers’ market. Morgan added Gateway’s southwest location will be a “benefit for taxpayers” because it’s a fully-taxable site. “The business units still stand on their own merits,” Mitchell said, adding there are events at the fairgrounds every weekend from September through June. Mayor Ed Holder weighed in on Gateway’s move, saying he has “a lot of confidence” in leadership at Western Fair to keep the organization profitable. “Western Fair has been around for 150 years, and part of the strength is that it continues to reinvent itself. I’ve lived in London long enough to see them make great strides,” he said, citing the slots, market, arena and Agriplex. Horse racing has had a “see-saw” relationship with provincial governments, Holder said, noting Gateway’s move could be a challenge but that it’s still early to figure out next steps for the Western Fair. Keeping Gateway’s investment — “hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs” — in London is good for the city, he added. “Businesses have the right to choose their own location, what works best, and I have to applaud Gateway for their strong financial commitments to the city,” Holder said. The British Columbia-based company needs rezoning for its new southwestern site before it can build a casino along Wonderland Road. “Councillors want to keep the jobs in London, have the direct investment in London. Gateway, to their credit, wants to be in London,” Holder said. “My feeling is that council will look at one of two choices: Either they’ll (Gateway) be in London at a place of their choosing, or not. To me, that’s the clear thing. I’m not sure that it’s government’s place to tell business where they should do their business.” Megan Stacey, The London Free Press Reprinted with permission of The London Free Press

A source at The Meadowlands has told Harnesslink that harness racing trainer Nick Surick has been suspended indefintly by the New Jersey Racing Commission from the Meadowlands and Feehold Raceway.   Seven of his horses were just scratched from tonights racecard at The Meadowlands. They were;   Race 1 - Idle Bones N Race 4 - Mac's Secure Race 5 - Hepburn Hanover Race 5 - Livingthedream Race 6 - JK Parlay Race 9 - American Image Race 10 - Abbeylara   More news will be coming out in the following days.    Harnesslink Media

Betting anomalies have been identified and police say more arrests are possible as the probe into alleged corruption in New Zealand harness racing widens to the Auckland region. Thirteen harness racing figures have so far appeared in court after being caught up in the 18-month Operation Inca race-fixing investigation by the National Organised Crime Group. Many of the racing identities cannot be named for legal reasons and have denied match-fixing and other charges. They are awaiting a High Court hearing in February for name suppression to be argued. The charges came after raids on multiple stables and properties in Canterbury, Invercargill and Manawatu in September. Today, police revealed investigators from the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) and detectives from the National Organised Crime Group have this week conducted further enquiries in the Auckland region. "A number of people have been interviewed as part of this week's enquiries, and betting anomalies have been identified in at least one race in May 2018," a police statement said. "The RIU is considering charges relating to the breach of rules around driver betting in relation to these anomalies. "Further arrests and charges by police are also possible." Christchurch District Court heard on Wednesday that a male driver in his 50s has been charged with conspiring with another person to manipulate a race result earlier this year by "administering a substance" to a horse before the race "in order to gain a pecuniary advantage, namely the winning stakes". Defence lawyer Phil Shamy said the man denied the charge and would elect trial by jury. Judge Raoul Neave granted him interim name suppression which will be reviewed when he comes back to court – along with others charged over Operation Inca – on March 25 next year. North Canterbury trainer Andrew Douglas Stuart, 42, who has previously entered not guilty pleas to three race-fixing allegations, faces a fourth fixing charge. It's alleged that with another man he "manipulated the overall result" of a race earlier this year by deception and without claim of right. A 40-year-old Canterbury man who denies three race-fixing charges and who is yet to enter pleas on two unrelated drugs charges had another drugs charge laid this week. Graham Henry Beirne, a 71-year-old Christchurch man, previously denied two race fixing charges, and faces a third charge. Defence counsel Richard Raymond QC asked for no plea to be entered on the new charge, and Judge Neave remanded him until March 25. Three other men – aged 50, 35 and 26 – deny race-fixing allegations, as does Palmerston North man Brent Stephen Wall, 47, and 44-year-old Rolleston-based horse trainer Nigel Raymond McGrath. Others face drugs charges that their lawyers say is unconnected to the horse racing investigation, including Elie Sawma, a 42-year-old Christchurch hairdresser charged with supplying the Class B controlled drug MDMA, possession of MDMA, and offering to supply the Class A drug cocaine. Another accused, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is yet to enter pleas. Some of the accused were remanded by Judge Raoul Neave to a Crown case review hearing on March 25 next year, while others will be back in court on January 29. By: Kurt Bayer NZ Herald reporter based in Christchurch   Reprinted with permission of The New Zealand Herald

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today considered a charge issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1) against licensed trainer Kylie Hughes. ARHR 190(1) reads as follows: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. The charge under AHRR 190(1) issued by HRV Stewards against Ms Hughes related to a post-race urine sample collected from the horse ‘Nevada Rocket’ after it won Race 2, the ‘Mildura Holden Pace’, at Mildura on 22 February 2017. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the urine sample revealed the sample to contain a prohibited substance, namely cobalt, at a concentration greater than 200 µg/L. This result was confirmed by the Racing Science Centre in Brisbane. The HRV RAD Board considered the statements of Investigative Steward Neal Conder, RASL Scientific Manager Paul Zahra and veterinary consultant Professor Paul Mills. Ms Hughes pleaded guilty to the charge, before the HRV RAD Board heard submissions on penalty from both parties. In deciding an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board considered Ms Hughes’ 25- year involvement in the industry, her good record over this period of time, and her guilty plea. Also considered were the circumstances of a partially concurrent Harness Racing New South Wales matter that led to this inquiry being adjourned on 28 September 2017, and resulted in Ms Hughes being disqualified between 20 April 2017 and 3 September 2019. The Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board (RADB) is established under section 50B of the Racing Act (1958). The RADB is an independent Board established to hear and determine appeals in relation to decisions made under the rules to impose penalties on persons and to hear and determine charges made against persons for serious offences. In handing down its penalty, the HRV RAD Board highlighted the significance of the rules in relation to prohibited substances in harness racing, the importance of conducting races fairly and with integrity, along with the protection of horses and the participants involved in the industry. In considering all of these matters, the HRV RAD Board imposed a 12-month disqualification. It was ordered that the disqualification be backdated to commence on 28 September 2017, the date of the original hearing, and be served concurrently with the HRNSW penalty. The HRV RAD Board also ordered that ‘Nevada Rocket’ be disqualified from Race 2 at Mildura on 22 February 2017 and that the placings be amended accordingly. HRV RAD Board Panel: Judge Graeme Hicks and Rod Osborne.   Harness Racing Victoria  

Twelve new charges alleging race fixing – including the drugging of a horse – have been laid in the police's investigation into the harness racing scene. A North Canterbury man in his 50s, a driver, appeared at the Christchurch District Court on Wednesday for the first time as part of the expanding investigation, dubbed Operation Inca.  He faced one race fixing charge, alleging that a substance was administered to a horse to gain an advantageat a race meeting earlier this year. He is charged with conspiring with one of the other defendants to fix the race. His court appearance at a review session before Judge Raoul Neave brings the total number of people caught up in the investigation to 13. Read the full story at Stuff.   David Clarkson for Stuff 

Columbus, OH - In May 2018, through the U.S. Trotting Association Board of Directors Medication Subcommittee, the USTA established the Harness Racing Medication Collaborative to develop reliable, consistent medication regulations for application specifically to harness racing. On Wednesday (Nov. 28), the HRMC distributed usage recommendations supported with position papers for thresholds and withdrawal times on two therapeutic medications, clenbuterol and betamethasone, to 16 state regulatory agencies. "The HRMC will close a gap in the science and policy underlying Standardbred medication regulation," said USTA President Russell Williams in making the announcement last May. "Our primary goal is to improve the quality of medication information available to our regulators." HRMC brings together a distinguished panel of academic, practicing, and regulatory veterinarians who are conversant with pharmacological and pharmacokinetic scientific studies, veterinary practice norms, and relevant regulatory issues. The USTA plans to provide the HRMC's reports and supporting data to regulators in the various racing commissions as well as the Association of Racing Commissioners International for their consideration in establishing medication rules. The state agencies that have been sent HRMC recommendations on the two therapeutic medications are: California Horse Racing Board, Delaware Harness Racing Commission, Indiana Horse Racing Commission, Maine State Racing Commission, Maryland Racing Commission, Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Michigan Gaming Control Board, Minnesota Racing Commission, New Jersey Racing Commission, New York State Gaming Commission, Ohio State Racing Commission, Pennsylvania Bureau of Standardbred Horse Racing, Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, Illinois Racing Board, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, and Virginia Racing Commission. At their regular monthly meeting last week on Wednesday (Nov. 28), the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission indicated that they will consider the HRMC recommendations at their next public meeting on Tuesday (Dec. 18). Some regulators have been referring to the Controlled Therapeutic Substances (CTS) list maintained by the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, and applying CTS guidelines on withdrawal times, route of administration, dosage, and threshold levels to harness racing. But the CTS list was developed for application to Thoroughbred racing, and harness racing's vastly different racing and training models require certain differences in the CTS list specifications. In addition, the CTS list has met criticism in some scientific circles for referencing confidential, unpublished data, inaccurate thresholds (resulting in undeserved infractions), disregard of clinical practice realities (such as intra-articular dosages allowing for treatment of only one knee or hock), and inappropriate statistical application (such as the 95:95 threshold, which puts as many as 1 in 20 appropriately-treated horses at risk of a threshold violation). Despite the USTA's years of effort, these concerns have not been adequately addressed. The Harness Racing Medication Collaborative consists of the following veterinarians who have expertise in the Standardbred racehorse: Dr. Marty Allen, Dr. Richard Balmer, Dr. Clara Fenger, Dr. Peter Kanter, Dr. Brian MacNamara, Dr. George Maylin, Dr. Kenneth McKeever, Dr. Andy Roberts, Dr. James Robertson, and Dr. Thomas Tobin. The members of the USTA Medication Subcommittee are: Joe Faraldo (Chairperson); Sam Beegle, Robert Boni, John Brennan, Mark Davis, Joe Frasure, Mark Loewe, Steve O'Toole, Brett Revington, Andrew M. Roberts DVM, and USTA President Russell Williams. Where appropriate and necessary, HRMC will also conduct or help support new research pertinent to harness racing. from the USTA Communications Department

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