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Racing Victoria has been having meetings with thoroughbred trainers throughout the state to canvass their views on a proposal to implement lifetime bans for trainers found guilty of adminstering prohibited drugs to horses they train. The proposal first surfaced in a report produced by the Irish Thoroughbred Anti Doping Task Force “Illegal performance-enhancing drugs have no place in the Irish racing and breeding industries,” the task force said in a statement. “In particular, the task force supports the position of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities that the use of anabolic steroids should not be permitted in or out of competition.’’ RV chief steward Terry ­Bailey said on Friday he had read the report and he would table it for discussion at the next dug strategy meeting. He said he was waiting for an opinion from Racing Victoria vets before taking the matter further. "That should give us a better idea wether this is something that should be considered here,” Bailey said. “It would certainly put the responsibility on the owners to choose their trainers carefully.” Terry Bailey is very supportive of a proposal by Cranbourne trainer Mick Kent for the cobalt and bicarbonate levels of every horse in training to be published on an industry website. Harness racing authorities in New South Wales have been publishing lists of cobalt and bicarbonate levels recorded by horses for the past two years and Kent says it would name and shame trainers who are cheating. Bailey is being accompanied at the consultation meetings by RV chief executive Bernard Saundry, chief vet Brian Stewart and racing manager Greg Carpenter. Harnesslink Media

The harness racing community in New South Wales was still coming to terms tonight with the news that the successful and well respected trainer Michael Day had been convicted of fraud with respects to a "phantom" horse that only existed in the accounts book. Mr Day arranged for a mare to be served, for all the agistment and associated costs with breeding that  foal to be paid and for the costs after the foal was born, broken in, and trained over several seasons to also to be paid. The only problem was the horse who he named Miriyan was never born and Mr Day fraudulently obtained over $25,000 over several years from the "owner" of the phantom horse. The first payment was on October 1, 2012, and payments continued until January 13, 2015.   The payments totaled $25,677. Even though the owner was shown two different horses at different times over the years who were meant to be Miriyan, the owner continued to pay accounts that Mr Day sent her. Eventually she became suspicious after being unable to locate the horse and contacted NSW Harness Racing. An investigation commenced and HRNSW  discovered that Miriyan had never existed. The horse the client had sighted for years was actually another horse. NSW Harness Racing conducted their own investigation into the matter and disqualified Day from the harness racing industry for 10 years. On October 20, 2015, Day was arrested and taken to Goulburn Police Station where he made a full and complete statement admitting the fraud. In court on Wednesday, Day's solicitor Tim McGrath said his client had been a man of overall good character until this matter.  Mr McGrath submitted that the offending was out of character and that Mr Day was a man of good skill and reputation in the harness racing industry and as a result of his offending he was now being treated for depression and that a suspended sentence may be appropriate. However the Magistrate Carolyn Hunstman was not convinced, finding Mr Day guilty and ordered him to undertake an assessment for an Intensive Corrections Order, with a final sentencing in Goulburn Local Court on March 16. Magistrate Huntsman said she had no alternative to a custodial sentence.  "It is a serious fraud over a long period of time," Ms Huntsman said.  "It is not appropriate to give you a suspended sentence." Mr Day, who has been a harness racing trainer for 38 years, had his biggest moment in the industry in 1982 when he won the Miracle Mile with Gundary Flyer. However after this court case Mr Day will be forever associated with the "phantom" horse that never existed. Harnesslink Media

The prevailing view is that cheating in sport is more commonplace and more egregious now than ever before. Cheating in sport comes in two basic forms — doping and match or spot fixing. The former relies on the scenario where the alchemists will always be one step ahead of the chemists, where those who use illicit performance enhancing drugs will beat the overseers and continue to compete under an unfair advantage. In this year’s Olympics in Rio, the Russian track and field team will almost certainly have to sit it out in the bleachers after the Russian governing body accepted an indefinite ban from competition after the alleged cover-up of positive doping tests. The Kenyans, the doyens of long distance running, are under a cloud of suspicion. Yet for all the headlines, one could mount a sound argument that doping in sport had reached its acme almost thirty years ago and the introduction of the WADA Code in 2004 combined with more effective policing and pro secution of athletes taking banned substances is leading to what we all hope for when we watch sport — a level playing field. That is not to say professional sport in terms of doping is clean but it is cleaner than it was. Last month UK Athletics called for world track and field records to be reset because of the great suspicion that surrounds those that sit on the books now. Take women’s track and field events. From the 1500m down all records were set in the 1980s and 90s with the exception of one event, the 400m hurdles. There are a number of world records in women’s track and field events that are clearly not legitimate. The record for the women’s discus throw was set in 1988 by East German athlete, Gabriele Reinsch with a throw of 76.80 metres. Not one female thrower has broken 70 metres this century. American sprinter, Florence Griffith-Joyner, still holds the 100m and 200m sprint records, both obtained in 1988 — the latter set at the Seoul Olympics, the so-called ‘Dirty Games’. Griffith-Joyner maintained she never took drugs but the dramatic changes to her physique told a different tale. She retired from competition after the Seoul Games. Random drug testing of IAAF athletes commenced the following year. She died in 1998 aged 38. East German athlete, Marita Koch broke the 400m world record at the World Championships in Canberra in 1985 with a time of 47.60 seconds. Her recorded 100 and 200 metre splits of 11.3 and 22.4 seconds would have qualified her for the women’s 100m and 200m sprints at the 2012 Olympics in London. One of the great ironies of communist East Germany’s State Plan 14.25 — a program designed to shovel performance enhancing drugs into their athletes, is you couldn’t run Koch’s time driving around in a Trabant then or now. These records need to stand both as a testament to cheating and as a marker for questionable achievement in future. Doping may be on the decline while the pernicious effects of match and spot fixing are clearly still with us. Match fixing is pervasive and difficult to police by nature. Last night the ABC’s Four Corners program ran an exposé on match and spot fixing on the professional tennis circuit. The show made some claims about tennis players on the fringes of the ITP circuit without naming many but went on to uncover what stands as the biggest threat to the integrity of professional sport — unregulated betting agencies taking millions of dollars in bets on sporting events around the world. The Australian has been reporting on some questionable matches, including one played at the Australian Open less than a fortnight ago. Not only do these illicit betting agencies refuse to co-operate with authorities, they engage in money laundering with organised criminal syndicates. For many years gambling has been used as a means of laundering money, taking the black money from various criminal activities and washing it clean through a bookmaker. It was a rule of thumb that if $60 came back clean from a $100 of dirty money wagered, that was a decent outcome for those involved. Forty years ago, greyhound racing was literally awash with black money. Harness racing faced a similar problem in the 1980s. Legal casinos now face the problem everyday and are inclined to take the gambler’s money without caring much about where the dough has come from. Indeed it was said of harness racing that when Australia’s king of race fixing, George Freeman was about, there wasn’t a trotting meet anywhere in the country where one or more race on the card was bent. The important lesson here is that level of contrivance and cheating effectively destroyed what integrity harness racing may have had. Legitimate punters simply walked away from the sport. Harness racing has never recovered. The online unregulated bookmakers offer a similar service to that which Freeman enjoyed in the 1970s and 80s; the opportunity not just of washing money and obtaining a smaller return but where crime groups are able to predetermine the outcome of a sporting event, they not only come away with clean money but more of it. In practical terms there is little Australian authorities can do about online unregulated bookmakers who run off shore, often out of hotel rooms with a handful of laptops and a bank of plasma screen TVs. The best option is to co-operate and share information with other jurisdictions and hope for the broad sweep of US federal investigators to move in. Even then it’s like playing a game of whack-a-mole. But the rules are the same as they were in Freeman’s day. If a sport loses its integrity through match fixing or widespread doping, spectators and television audiences simply move on. We have the template for this via one of the world’s most lucrative sports, Major-league Baseball. The problems can be traced back to the players’ strike of 1994-95. It was only when the dispute was resolved that the governing body, MLB, believed the industrial landscape was too fraught to consider implementing an anti-doping policy. An anti-doping policy had not been in place in the MLB since 1985. And so it became open slather on doping. Big hitters became bigger hitters. For a brief moment, the US was gripped with a fascinating dual over a number of seasons between Mark McGwire at the St Louis Cardinals and Barry Bonds at the San Francisco Giants tonking the ball out of the park on a regular basis. McGwire broke the season home run record in 1998 with 70 home runs. Three years later Bonds smashed it with 73. Both men were juiced up on steroids. In 2004, the MLB agreed to a moratorium on drug testing. In that season players in the major and minor leagues were tested but no punishments were applied. Results from that period reveal seven per cent of players were using steroids and an astonishing 78 per cent were using some type of banned substance. To this day the National Baseball Hall of Fame has chosen to avoid handing hall of fame status to players from that period. Most importantly, attendances at games went into a deep trough and television audiences shrank. People knew they were being conned and wouldn’t have a bar of it. This is the soundest argument you can make for the WADA code and the tough policing of doping in professional sport and why the match fixers need to be sent packing. The salutary lesson for all sports administrators is if you build it they will come but if you degrade and debase it, they will turn away. By Jack The Insider Reprinted with permission of The Australian

DOVER, Del. - The Delaware legislature paid tribute to 2015 standardbred horse of the year Wiggleitjiggleit Tuesday afternoon with ceremonies in the House of Representatives and Senate. Wiggleitjiggleit's owner, George Teague Jr., of Harrington, trainer Clyde Francis of Houston, were joined by the horse's driver, Montrell Teague (Harrington) and groom Mike Taylor (Harrington). The festivities started on a capacity-filled Senate floor where legislators and visitors watched a replay of the 2015 Little Brown Jug from Delaware, Ohio, which is widely recognized as one of the most memorable races of all-time, that resulted in a victory for local star Wiggleitjiggleit. Many of the legislators were awe-stricken by the remarkable race and vocalized their congratulations and pride in having a Delaware horse gain national acclaim and subsequent attention and exposure across North America. A tribute was read and presented by Senators Gary Simpson and Patricia Blevins, noting the many accomplishments of Wiggleitjiggleit, that included 22 victories and more than $2 million earned in a historic season. The Teague crew then immediately went to the House chamber and were introduced by Representative Bobby Outten and Dan Short, who honored the connections of Wiggleitjiggleit. Owner George Teague expressed his gratitude at the podium on the House floor. "This is truly an honor," said Teague, who also trained 2004 horse of the year Rainbow Blue. "We got extremely lucky to have a horse like this and it's been a fun ride. We appreciate the recognition." Teague and crew then visited the Honorable Governor Jack Markell's office and were met with congratulations by the Governor. Wiggleitjiggleit is expected to return to racing in the spring of 2016 and will receive his horse of the year honors at the United States Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch awards banquet on March 6 in Orlando, Fl. Delaware will be well represented as there will be four awards given to residents of The First State. In addition to the horse of the year feat, owner George Teague was voted 2015 owner of the year, driver Montrell Teague was named Rising Star, and Jo Ann Looney-King, of Harrington will receive the William Haughton Memorial Good Guy Award. Matthew Sparacino

Harness Racing South Australia Stewards finalised an inquiry into a report received from Racing Analytical Services Ltd (RASL) that a post race urine sample taken from SILVER RANGER after Race 4, the Hygain Horse Products Claiming Pace at Globe Derby on 23 November 2015, upon analysis contained arsenic greater than the 0.30 micrograms per millilitre threshold. The ‘B’ sample was sent to the Racing Science Centre in Queensland which confirmed the presence of arsenic above the threshold. Evidence was taken from trainer Andrew Kearney regarding his feeding regime and husbandry practices. Mr. Kearney pleaded guilty to a charge under Rule 190(1), (2) & (4) that as the licenced trainer of SILVER RANGER he did present that horse to race at Globe Derby on 23 November 2015 when not free of a prohibited substance. In determining penalty stewards took into account the nature of the substance, his guilty plea, his 11 year history as a trainer and his record which contained two previous offences for prohibited substances. Mr. Kearney had his trainer licence suspended for 9 months backdated to 6 January 2016, the date he was stood down. Under Rule 195, SILVER RANGER was disqualified from its first placing and all placings amended accordingly. by Barbara Scott, Chair of Stewards

Gov. Chris Christie announced a compromise among legislative leaders on Monday that would let voters decide on North Jersey casinos. Political infighting prevented the issue’s passage by the end of this legislative year. The agreement ensures the measure will be voted on in the next session, but it comes with a higher hurdle for the Legislature. Christie, flanked by Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, said at a press conference that Sweeney’s bill will be introduced in both houses in the next legislative session. It will include an amendment requiring the new casino operators to each invest a minimum of $1 billion, as recommended by Prieto. “We want real investment in the state of New Jersey,” Sweeney said. “We don’t want slots in a box.” The agreement ends the feud between lawmakers that made them miss a key procedural deadline to make approving the ballot question easier. Sweeney and Prieto each had his own proposed amendments, but neither would accept the other's proposal. The bills differed on who could own the new casinos and how much gambling tax money from those casinos would be used to redevelop Atlantic City. By failing to agree on a plan by Monday, proponents of new casinos now need a three-fifths majority in both houses to put the question on the November ballot. That is 48 votes in the Assembly and 24 in the Senate. Had lawmakers agreed on one plan and passed it with simple majorities Monday, the amendment would have needed just a simple majority vote in both houses in the next session. Earlier Monday, in what turned out to be just a symbolic vote, the Senate passed Sweeney’s bill by a vote of 33-6. It's unclear whether there is enough votes for a three-fifths majority in the Assembly, though Christie's support of the agreement may help garner Republican votes. Sweeney's bill would require that both casinos be owned by existing Atlantic City casino operators, but outside companies could partner with those operators and own up to 49 percent of a new casino. Sweeney's plan also uses more revenue collected from the new casinos to help Atlantic City. That money would not go to the city government or the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. Instead, it would go to a non-profit investment fund. The agreement will also include language forcing operators to propose projects within a certain timeline “that will address the ability to make this move quickly,” Christie said. Casino gambling is currently limited to Atlantic City, which is still suffering from the closure of four casinos that cost about 8,000 lost jobs in 2014. Business leaders and Atlantic City-area elected officials are opposed to expanding casino gambling in the state, saying the new casinos will further devastate the local economy. Sen. Jim Whelan and Sen. Jeff Van Drew both opposed Sweeney’s bill on Monday. “It is foolish to think that gaming in North Jersey would do anything but cannibalize an already-saturated market in the same way that casinos in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland have cannibalized ours,” said Whelan, D-Atlantic. Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, said: “Allowing gaming elsewhere will devastate Atlantic City, creating further job loss and additional hardship for our residents.” Assemblyman Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, said regardless of the announced agreement, “our steadfast opposition made it harder for the Democrat leadership to put North Jersey casinos on the ballot” now that proponents need a larger majority. Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, D-Atlantic, said there is “no agreement and no amount of money being sent back to Atlantic City” that will make up for the thousands who could jobs in the area. Sweeney, D-Salem, Gloucester, Cumberland, acknowledged the impact North Jersey casinos could have on Atlantic City, saying the city is “more than likely” going to lose jobs. But he said the plan will provide funding to help “create a city that’s an entertainment destination” and bring year-round businesses to the resort. Proponents of new casinos say expanding casino gaming will recapture gambling revenue lost to neighboring states while creating millions of dollars in new investment and thousands of new jobs in the state. Sweeney’s plan doesn’t specify the new casinos’ locations, though it says they must be in separate counties and at least 72 miles away from Atlantic City. The Meadowlands sports complex in East Rutherford and Jersey City are the most talked about possible locations. By CHRISTIAN HETRICK Reprinted with permission of the pressofatlanticcity.com site

In the last 3 months Harness Racing Victoria has tested a number of harness racing participants (trainers and drivers) where unfortunately three participants have tested positive to amphetamine. One of those matters has been dealt with and the other two are pending future RAD Board Hearings. Harness Racing Victoria would like to work with all harness racing participants to seek appropriate support and treatment for them to engage with relevant agencies if they have issues in relation to the use of amphetamines or other drugs of abuse. Harness Racing Victoria will increase the number of human samples to be taken of harness racing participants in 2016 than the previous year to ensure greater compliance of drivers and trainers and to ensure that the sport of harness racing is as safe as possible on the race track. It is in the best interests for the sport of harness racing, that all harness racing drivers are not alcohol or drug affected whilst engaged in a race or trial. Harness Racing Victoria would encourage any harness racing participant whom may have an issue with alcohol or drugs to seek appropriate treatment and guidance and Harness Racing Victoria can be contacted on 03 8378 0287 in relation to this and all matters are treated confidentially.    Harness Racing Victoria   General Amphetamine Street Names Knowing the common street names for the different amphetamines drugs is important. Because there are so many different types of these drugs, many individuals take substances they do not know as a result. Being able to recognize the slang terms can help protect you from dangerous drug abuse and other issues. It could also allow you to help someone in need by knowing what they have taken. Be aware of the street names listed below as they are some of the most common. According to CESAR, “Medications containing amphetamines are prescribed for narcolepsy, obesity, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.” However, when someone takes one of these pills without a valid prescription or abuses them just to get high, it is a very dangerous practice that can lead to severe mood swings, insomnia, tremors, and when taken in very high doses even heart attack and stroke. When sold on the street, these drugs are often referred to as: Uppers Speed Pep pills Lid poppers Eye-openers Wake-ups If any of these street names are being used to describe a drug in question, it is most certainly an amphetamine of some type. Dextroamphetamine Medications that contain only dextroamphetamine have specific street names which you may hear but not initially recognize. Many of the general terms for amphetamines are clear about the stimulant effects, but dextroamphetamine which causes many of these same issues may be referred to as White crosses Dexedrine, a brand version of dextroamphetamine, is named for the white lines that appear on the pill in order to make it easier to split into quarters Dexies Another name for Dexedrine Methamphetamine Methamphetamine can be a prescription drug, but more often, it is abused in its pure form which is similar to a crystal-like rock. In many cases, if an individual uses one of the names above, they are likely referring to its the prescription pill form. However, if a person calls the drug: Glass Ice Crystal Chalk Meth it is probably this more potent version. According to the NLM, “Meth use can quickly lead to addiction.” Because illicit methamphetamine is smoked, it will reach the brain much more quickly and cause the individual to feel a stronger desire to abuse more of the drug. Understanding the difference is key to avoiding even more dangerous drug abuse. Combination Street Names There are some slang terms which refer to the combination of amphetamines and different drugs. These can be incredibly dangerous because of the joint effects of the two drugs. For example, goofballs are amphetamines and barbiturates that have been mixed together. According to a study from the NCBI, “The mixture produced a pattern of effects which was different from that produced by either drug separately.” Another similar-sounding combination called speedballs contains heroin and methamphetamine, both extremely potent, addictive, and harmful drugs. It is very important to understand the difference between the two combinations as one may be much more dangerous than the other. Knowing the different street names for amphetamines can help you stay aware of what drugs you are dealing with. You can also more readily help someone else in an overdose situation if you know what they have taken.  

The New South Wales Betting Tax Legislation Bill was introduced into the Parliament by the NSW Government in November 2015. The subsequent Act provided for reductions in tax on wagering and was backdated to 1 July 2015. As a result NSW Treasury estimates the harness racing industry will receive a total amount of $29.9 million over the next five years. HRNSW is seeking industry feedback before considering priorities for funding which will flow from the 2016/2017 financial year. Submissions are invited from industry bodies, racing clubs and individuals. It is important to note the NSW Government has indicated that the allocation of funds provided via tax parity is to be distributed in accordance with the code's Strategic Plan. Therefore submissions need to conform to the strategies identified in the controlling body's Strategic Plans. The closing date for submissions is close of business on Monday 29th February 2016 and can be forwarded to Mr John Dumesny Chief Executive Harness Racing NSW PO Box 1034 Bankstown NSW 1885 Or submissions can be emailed directly to jdumesny@hrnsw.com.au Greg Hayes

Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) Stewards concluded an Inquiry yesterday into a report received from the Australian Government National Measurement Institute that Cobalt above the threshold was detected in a post race urine sample taken from MISTER BELLISIMO following its win in race 6, the CONWAY PRINTERS ENCOURAGEMENT STAKES (1770 metres) conducted at Albury on 10 July 2015. The “B” sample and associated control sample were confirmed by the ChemCentre in Western Australia. Ms Mary-Jane Mifsud pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 190 (1), (2) and (4) in that she did present MISTER BELLISIMO to race at Albury on 10 July 2015, not free of a prohibited substance. Ms Mifsud was disqualified for a period of 7 years 6 months in respect of the charge under Rule 190 (1), (2) & (4) to commence from 6 October 2015, the date upon which she was stood down. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; This was Ms Mifsud’s 2nd offence for Rule 190 breaches, That Cobalt is deemed a Class 1 substance under the HRNSW Penalty Guidelines, The level recorded being 260 ug/L Ms Mifsud’s guilty plea, licence history and other personal subjective facts. Ms Mifsud was informed of her right to appeal this decision.           Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, MISTER BELLISIMO was disqualified from the abovementioned race. 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 31 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by an industry-appointed Board of Directors and is independent of Government. Reid Sanders    

Good news from Capitol Hill. After months of wrangling over dozens of riders and spending levels, Congress has just released an omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government until September 30, 2016 and included our annual language defunding horse slaughter inspections by the USDA. This language, first included back in 2005, continues to block the opening of new slaughterhouses in the US. The President is expected to sign the bill immediately. It was a long fight to ensure the defund language was contained in the package, but we are pleased Congress listened to the people and stood by this important language. While this language will only last for a year, it will prevent plants from opening and give us time to work towards passage of the SAFE Act which is critical to permanently ban horse slaughter and ensure horses aren't exported for the same purpose. Thanks to everyone for your hard work on the defund language. Tomorrow we start even harder on passage of the SAFE Act. Please take a moment to send an email to Congress urging support for the SAFE Act! CHRIS HEYDE

Courtesy of last week’s dramatic cobalt hearing in Australia before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board, a grotesque portrait now exists of handsome young horse vet Adam Matthews. That portrait might either be an accurate depiction or a portrait of convenience as drawn by his ex-colleague Tom Brennan, who portrayed Matthews as a deeply troubled renegade, a pathological liar and a gambling addict whose cobalt concoctions have already caused chaos and will soon cause more. It is likely the board will on Friday find Mark Kavanagh, Danny O’Brien and Brennan guilty of administering a prohibited substance, cobalt, to horses trained by Kavanagh and O’Brien. The trio will learn their fate, years on the sidelines if found guilty, in coming days. Final submissions are on Friday. Brennan’s evidence to the board was that Matthews, a former burly country footballer, mate and semi-trusted colleague at the Flemington Equine Clinic, was running his own race. Matthews denies Brennan’s allegations, calling him a “liar and unreliable witness.’’ Brennan says Matthews, whom he once “loved like a brother’’ was the architect and that he, O’Brien and Kavanagh are hapless victims who used Matthews’ “vitamin complex’’ under assurance it was “sweet”. Brennan told the board of Matthews’ alleged underworld connections via the harness racing industry, his peddling of potions Matthews had claimed were full of vitamins sourced from “Canada” and his spiralling mental state and betting fortunes. To read the full article written by Matt Stewart on this intriguing case in The Herald Sun this morning just click here

State Rep. Thaddeus Jones, D-Calumet City, is sponsoring legislation in the Illinois House to prevent the closing of Balmoral Park and Maywood Park, harness racing tracks, at the end of the year. Jones, whose district includes Crete, where Balmoral Park is located, admitted to me that his effort is a long shot, "but the only hope we have right now of keeping Balmoral Park open next year so that it might attract a buyer." The lawmaker questioned the Illinois Racing Board's decision to take harness racing dates away from Balmoral and Maywood, which had historically held them, and give them to Hawthorne Race Course. "There was no public discussion about this, no consultation with state legislators, and we don't know exactly what information the racing board was acting on when it made its decision," Jones said, adding that he wants to hold a public hearing in Chicago to find out how the board reached its decision. Jones' bill, H.B. 2663, would amend the Illinois Racing Act of 1975 and allocate a minimum of 30 days of racing in the next year to any race track that was in good standing during the current year, meaning Balmoral and Maywood. Under the current law, the off track betting operations associated with Balmoral and Maywood could remain open for a few years, but would be placed in jeopardy by the way OTB money is distributed, according to Jones. Jack Kelly, a former lobbyist for Balmoral and Maywood, said gambling revenues at OTB parlors are divided up among racetracks under a complicated system that rewards "host tracks" which are featuring live races. All the revenue wagered at local OTB parlors, he said, goes to those tracks that have live racing at the time (day or night), which has ultimately resulted in what he called a fairly equal distribution of funds between Arlington International Racecourse, Hawthorne, Maywood and Balmoral. According to Kelly, Balmoral and Maywood generate about one-third of all the OTB revenue in the Chicago metro area. But if Maywood and Balmoral have no live racing next year, they would get none of that revenue split. So Jones' bill would alter the "host" system that determines how revenues are split on bets made at OTBs and inter-tracks. The change would allow each OTB and race track to retain the commissions and purse money earned from betting out-of-state races at their respective operations. Jones admitted that at this point he can't even muster the votes to get his measure out of a House committee. "So my goal now is to get a hearing in Chicago where we can go into how the Illinois Gaming Board made its decision and how it was influenced by the people at competing racetracks in the hope that once people understand how these decisions were made they will start questioning the entire process," he said. Jones said he believes Arlington and Hawthorne used a $78 million civil judgment against the Johnston Family, which owns Balmoral and Maywood, as fodder to sway the votes of racing board members. The Johnstons were forced to file for bankruptcy after being caught up in the Gov. Rod Blagojevich scandal, resulting in a civil lawsuit filed by casinos for allegedly offering campaign contributions to the former governor in exchange for the state extending an agreement to share casino gambling revenue with the two racetracks. The contribution apparently was never made and the deal never completed. "The racing board decided to take the harness racing dates away from Maywood and Balmoral because of that, but if it was a matter of them saying they wanted to clean up horse racing in Illinois and punish the tracks involved in the scandal, that could have been done back in 2011 when the information first came out," Jones said. "Instead, they waited for a decision in the civil suit. "What I'm interested in is the economic impact on the communities I represent," Jones continued. "We have 270 acres of land out there in Crete that really isn't of much use for anything other than a race track. Its economic impact on Crete, Steger, Beecher, Monee and other surrounding communities is between $2 million and $3 million a year. "There are hundreds of jobs at stake, either connected to the track directly -- tellers, food service staff, security, parking attendants, maintenance staff people who work the backstretch -- and those people employed by businesses that do business with the track," Jones said. "There are also people who live on the track, at Balmoral, and some of them may be able to relocate, but many of them will have no place to live. "Finally, to sell that track to a new buyer, you have to be able to offer them something in return. No one is going to buy a race track if they are not guaranteed race dates by the state. It would be foolish to invest that kind of money. Our only hope of attracting a buyer, of retaining those jobs and that revenue for the businesses in the community, is to keep the track operating until a buyer can be found." Jones said he hopes to convince south suburban mayors to support his measure and lobby their lawmakers to back his bill. Earlier this week, the legislative and policy committee of the Will County Board voted to back the legislation. "This reminds me of the closing of Oak Forest Hospital," said Jones, who testified against the closing at a public hearing. "The closing of that hospital had a significant economic impact on the south suburbs. We lost jobs and revenue and most of that hospital remains vacant. We can't keep allowing our government, which we pay taxes to support, to work against the best interests of the people of the south suburbs. We have to take a stand and put a stop to this. I believe we can do it." While Jones sounded optimistic, I'm not convinced there's time to reverse the gaming board's decision. Maywood has already shut down its operations and Balmoral is in the process of doing that, although it remains open for harness racing this year. In addition, the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association, which represents breeders, trainers, drivers and others in the industry – came out in support of the Racing Board's decision because Balmoral and Maywood had each sought only two racing days a week next year, far too few to support the people who make their living in harness racing. Hawthorne will host 117 days of harness racing next year, down from the 192 dates at Maywood and Balmoral Park this year, but far more than what those tracks had requested in 2016. Trainers and horse owners also told me that purses at Balmoral had decreased significantly in recent years making it nearly impossible for them to show a profit. They expressed optimism that Hawthorne's purses would increase, making it easier for them to make a living. Jones said he had not reached out to the horsemen, but planned to do so in the near future. "I respect their concerns and their problems," Jones said, "but this is about the larger community. This is about the impact on the entire south suburban region. And they have to understand that." Jones said he hoped to have his public hearing on Balmoral and Maywood sometime before Thanksgiving in order to gain support for his bill before Christmas. Since there is no place to find the odds on such things, I'm officially setting the line at 100-to-1. You know, I've always been a sucker for long shots. By Phil Kadner Reprinted with permission of The Southtown News

After a week of daily discussions between state officials and representatives of Pennsylvania's horse and harness racing industries and its race tracks, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding expressed optimism today that a long-term solution to the structural deficit in the State Racing Fund is within reach. "This has not been an easy process, but it has been an incredibly productive process," said Redding. "We have come a long way since last Friday when the future of racing in Pennsylvania was very much in doubt, but today, thanks to the tremendous work of a lot of people around the table, we find ourselves in a very much improved position. Everyone seems genuinely committed to finding a long-term, sustainable solution that will keep racing alive and well in Pennsylvania for years to come. "I want to thank everyone for their diligence and their willingness to return to the table day-after-day and talk through these issues," Redding added. "That goes for members of the General Assembly, the horsemen and the track operators. While we don't yet have a comprehensive agreement, we do agree on many of the major points. Those areas where differences remain are not insurmountable. Our goal has always been to reach a consensus among all of the stakeholders that promotes the future of racing in Pennsylvania. We believe that within another week, we can get there." Given the progress in conversations over the past week, Redding said the state was delaying any decision on whether it had to initiate the suspension of live racing in the state for one-week. Previously, it looked like a suspension of racing was to start on Oct. 30. The chairs of the State Horse and Harness Racing Commissions echoed Redding's optimism and appreciation for the ongoing dialogue with the industry and its stakeholders. "We are optimistic that this next week will get everyone where we need to be so that racing is not suspended," said Harness Racing Chairman Johnathan Newman. "The Harness Racing Commission appreciates all efforts extended by the various partner groups to get us to this point. We remain confident that we're on strong footing and are close to coming to an agreement." Similarly, Alan Novak, chairman of the State Horse Racing Commission said, "Significant progress has been made. Whenever you bring together a group representing diverse interests, there has to be time given to allow them to come to a compromise. We know that everyone involved is working in a cooperative spirit and my hope is that an agreement is reached soon." The questions over the future of equine racing in the commonwealth were brought to the forefront last week when the department announced a deficit State Racing Fund, leaving the state without the resources to maintain the financial integrity of the industry and to protect the wagering public. Pari-mutuel tax revenues from total handle — or the total amount wagered on racing — has declined tremendously over at least the past 15 years. In 2001, more than $1.46 billion was wagered on races in the state. In 2014, that number had declined to $427.5 million — a 71 percent decrease. Similarly, the state's share of tax revenues on those wagers decreased 65 percent over the same period, from $31.8 million in 2001 to a little more than $11 million in 2014. It costs between $18 million and $20 million to regulate racing in the commonwealth. In recent years, the Racing Fund's deficit has been filled using transfers from the Race Horse Development Fund, which is supported by a percentage of tax revenues from slot machine gaming. A transfer of $4.2 million, spread over fiscal years 2013-14 and 2014-15, allowed the Racing Fund to remain solvent. Governor Tom Wolf's budget proposed a $6.5 million transfer for fiscal year 2015-16. While the Race Horse Development Fund has helped to keep the Racing Fund afloat, the law that created it contributed to the present dilemma. Act 71 of 2004, or the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, increased the regulatory oversight responsibilities of the state racing commissions by 50 percent, adding two new race tracks to the four that existed at the time, but the act did not dedicate any of the approximately $2 billion in slot revenues that have been generated to date for the Race Horse Development Fund to meet that increased workload. The present deficit is also complicated by another factor. In 2013, the General Assembly enacted Act 52, a provision which imposed a 10 percent advanced deposit wagering tax on horse racing bets placed with companies other than the six licensed Pennsylvania racetracks via the Internet from a Pennsylvania-based IP address. As a result of litigation challenging the constitutionality of this provision, a $1.9 million tax refund must be paid from the Racing Fund. For more information on horse and harness racing in Pennsylvania, visit www.agriculture.pa.gov. Chairman Newman also reiterated that the Standardbred Sale that kicks-off today, Nov. 2 at the Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg was moving forward as planned. Reprinted with permission of the NJ.com site

Harrisburg, PA - After a week of daily discussions between state officials and representatives of Pennsylvania's horse and harness racing industries and its race tracks, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding expressed optimism today that a long-term solution to the structural deficit in the State Racing Fund is within reach. "This has not been an easy process, but it has been an incredibly productive process," said Redding. "We have come a long way since last Friday when the future of racing in Pennsylvania was very much in doubt, but today, thanks to the tremendous work of a lot of people around the table, we find ourselves in a very much improved position. Everyone seems genuinely committed to finding a long-term, sustainable solution that will keep racing alive and well in Pennsylvania for years to come. "I want to thank everyone for their diligence and their willingness to return to the table day-after-day and talk through these issues," Redding added. "That goes for members of the General Assembly, the horsemen and the track operators. While we don't yet have a comprehensive agreement, we do agree on many of the major points. Those areas where differences remain are not insurmountable. Our goal has always been to reach a consensus among all of the stakeholders that promotes the future of racing in Pennsylvania. We believe that within another week, we can get there." Given the progress in conversations over the past week, Redding said the state was delaying any decision on whether it had to initiate the suspension of live racing in the state for one-week. The chairs of the State Horse and Harness Racing Commissions echoed Redding's optimism and appreciation for the ongoing dialogue with the industry and its stakeholders. "We are optimistic that this next week will get everyone where we need to be so that racing is not suspended," said Harness Racing Chairman Johnathan Newman. "The Harness Racing Commission appreciates all efforts extended by the various partner groups to get us to this point. We remain confident that we're on strong footing and are close to coming to an agreement." Similarly, Alan Novak, chairman of the State Horse Racing Commission said, "Significant progress has been made. Whenever you bring together a group representing diverse interests, there has to be time given to allow them to come to a compromise. We know that everyone involved is working in a cooperative spirit and my hope is that an agreement is reached soon." The questions over the future of equine racing in the commonwealth were brought to the forefront last week when the department announced a deficit State Racing Fund, leaving the state without the resources to maintain the financial integrity of the industry and to protect the wagering public. Pari-mutuel tax revenues from total handle - or the total amount wagered on racing - has declined tremendously over at least the past 15 years. In 2001, more than $1.46 billion was wagered on races in the state. In 2014, that number had declined to $427.5 million - a 71 percent decrease. Similarly, the state's share of tax revenues on those wagers decreased 65 percent over the same period, from $31.8 million in 2001 to a little more than $11 million in 2014. It costs between $18 million and $20 million to regulate racing in the commonwealth. In recent years, the Racing Fund's deficit has been filled using transfers from the Race Horse Development Fund, which is supported by a percentage of tax revenues from slot machine gaming. A transfer of $4.2 million, spread over fiscal years 2013-14 and 2014-15, allowed the Racing Fund to remain solvent. Governor Tom Wolf's budget proposed a $6.5 million transfer for fiscal year 2015-16. While the Race Horse Development Fund has helped to keep the Racing Fund afloat, the law that created it contributed to the present dilemma. Act 71 of 2004, or the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, increased the regulatory oversight responsibilities of the state racing commissions by 50 percent, adding two new race tracks to the four that existed at the time, but the act did not dedicate any of the approximately $2 billion in slot revenues that have been generated to date for the Race Horse Development Fund to meet that increased workload. The present deficit is also complicated by another factor. In 2013, the General Assembly enacted Act 52, a provision which imposed a 10 percent advanced deposit wagering tax on horse racing bets placed with companies other than the six licensed Pennsylvania racetracks via the Internet from a Pennsylvania-based IP address. As a result of litigation challenging the constitutionality of this provision, a $1.9 million tax refund must be paid from the Racing Fund. For more information on horse and harness racing in Pennsylvania, visit www.agriculture.pa.gov. Chairman Newman also reiterated that the Standardbred Sale currently slated to kick-off Monday, November 2 at the Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg will move forward as planned. Brandi Hunter-Davenport, 717.787.5085 William R. Nichols | Press Aide Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture | Press Office 2301 North Cameron Street | Hbg PA 17110 Phone: 717.787.5085 | Fax: 717.705.8402  

As racing steward Terry Bailey stumbled on to his nature strip, clutching a tribal carving for ­defence seconds after gunfire peppered his suburban family home, he confronted two new realities. His world as sheriff of the track had changed forever: criminal elements had taken the fight straight to his doorstep only days before the Melbourne Cup. His second thought provided little comfort: the shooter could be anyone among a bulging Rolodex of enemies the 48-year-old chief steward had accumulated during a meteoric rise from Rockhampton racetrack to the hallowed turf of Flemington. Among the beaming celebrities and corporate suits in the luxurious marquees of the Birdcage from today, the party will barely miss a beat: DJs, champagne, fashion and some stunning feats of equine athleticism. But the racing industry — and its top cop — have been blasted into a new and terrifying era. Bailey speaks with a slow, nasal drawl that betrays his humble ­origins as the son of a cop who grew up in the backblocks of Queensland and NSW. But, up close, his eyes twinkle with a raw intelligence that smart folk quickly detect. John “The Sheriff” Schreck, perhaps the most famous steward in Australian turf history, saw that glimmer in Bailey’s eye and plucked him from obscurity at Rockhampton and put him on the path to the big league. “I first met him when he was still at school and he was working as a gofer on the track at Rockhampton — all he ever wanted to do was be involved in the administration of racing,’’ he tells The Weekend Australian in his first ­extended interview since the shooting. “His work ethic was quite outstanding and his common sense.” Today the stakes are astronomically higher, the villains smarter and far more ruthless, but Bailey hasn’t lost his laconic bush sense of humour. “I don’t have any other interests in life so, I presume, this is the common denominator,’’ he said the morning after an unknown enemy had pumped six rounds from a semi-automatic weapon into the front door of his suburban Melbourne house. “If they want to find you, they’ll find you.” Now, as the $16 billion racing industry begins its biggest week of the year, with the eyes of the racing world fixed on Melbourne, he and his family (a wife and two teen daughters he “idolises”) are living out of a safe house with a security detail attached to them 24/7. The attack was written up this week as the moment that racing lost its innocence, a description that didn’t pass the laugh test even for those who love the so-called sport of kings. “Don’t they remember (gangster) Tony Mokbel betting up a storm? Or (a certain jockey) taking bungs? Or the Smoking Aces (race-fixing) case? Or the cobalt scandal,’’ one world-weary racing fan mused. But Bailey’s mentor Schreck, who was the Australian Jockey Club’s chief steward for 15 years and did stints in senior roles in Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau, believes the attack on his friend and protege marks a significant new low and racing needs to recognise it. “It’s a bloody awful thing and it’s done untold damage to horse racing in this country,’’ he said. “He (Bailey) would be terribly disturbed about it and worried for his family. In the future, when Terry Bailey moves back home I would expect he will have CCTV throughout the house. I never thought I would see those days. It’s just gangster stuff, isn’t it?” Gunshots flying into the home of the industry’s top cop is undoubtedly a new low, but villains have always lurked in the shadows of horse racing. There was the Fine Cotton scandal in the 1980s, ­George Freeman roaming Sydney tracks before that — the links even go back to the days of John Wren, depicted in Frank Hardy’s Power Without Glory. In more recent times, there has also been the unsolved execution-style murder of horse trainer Les Samba, gunned down on a Melbourne street in 2011. The jailed drug lord Tony Mokbel was a horse owner and reputedly still punts from his maximum-security prison, having led the so-called Tracksuit Gang in the 1980s and 90s, trading words and tips at racecourses across Australia. His brother Horty Mokbel was banned from tracks in 2004. Mick Gatto, who shot dead gangland killer Andrew “Benji’’ Veniamin more than a decade ago but beat a murder charge, is also now banned from racetracks and Crown casino. Carl Williams, the murderer who was killed in jail, was at the epicentre of Melbourne’s gangland war. He loved a punt as well. As did ­Alphonse Gangitano, once the public but violent face of the Carlton Crew. His interest in horse racing and protection rackets ended with his death in 1998 at the hands of — police believe — Jason Moran. The Morans had close links with racing and Jason Moran was accused of triggering the underworld war that killed dozens. He, too, is no longer with us. Beyond the glittering success of the Flemington carnival, racing has for years been locked in a struggle to expel criminal elements, with Bailey at the vanguard. Pretty much ever since he was lured from the Gold Coast to clean up harness racing in Vic­toria, he has had a tiger by the tail. Bailey soon unearthed a race-fixing scandal involving the use of a drug known as Blue Magic. In a move that foreshadowed his ­aggressive style, he liaised closely with police and used covert surveillance to build a case that culminated in raids in Australia and New Zealand that would smash a crime syndicate. He parlayed that success into a shift into thoroughbreds — the main game — where he became one of the youngest chief stewards in Victorian history, replacing stalwart Des Gleeson. As Bailey drove a more aggressive enforcement culture, that Rolodex of enemies continued to grow. His detractors accuse him of the law enforcement equivalent of “managing up” — kicking the shit out of industry participants to garner publicity and to further his own career. He tangled with talented but troubled jockey Danny Nikolic, pursuing the hoop unsuccessfully over the so-called Betfair scandal and then the Smoking Aces race-fixing probe. Nikolic was cleared on both, but it was the start of a bloody war of attrition between the steward and jockey that would ultimately see Bailey get his man following a clash outside the steward’s tower in which Nikolic is alleged to have said: “We’ve all got families, c---, and we know where yours live ...” Nikolic, who was banned for two years, denied making the comment and was not commenting on this week’s incident. Bailey has been unrelenting in driving higher integrity standards, pushing for covert surveillance of stables and demanding trainers give his officials keys to their stable doors and even seeking to implant a spy in one stable. He found himself at the centre of the most high-profile drug case in the sport’s recent history when big-name trainers Peter Moody, Mark Kavanagh and Danny O’Brien were charged over positive swabs for cobalt returned by horses in their care. The cases continue to grind on, further damaging the sport’s image as ever darker secrets emerge, such as the reported links between a vet involved in supplying cobalt and organised criminals with ties to the harness racing world. It is true that racing has taken big strides towards a far more ruthless enforcement culture, introducing tough drug standards and investing in testing laboratories that keep officials close on the heels of biochemists. Victoria’s Racing Integrity Commissioner, Sal Perna, says on top of sophisticated race-day betting analysis teams, racing now has its own compliance and audit squads. “These are guys who are jumping the fences of trainers’ properties and checking the stables and drug testing,’’ he said. “Integrity has become much (more) important. Racing’s success is based on public confidence. If the public don’t have confidence in integrity, they won’t bet, then there’s less money coming in.” Racing Australia chief executive Peter McGauran says the brazen gun attack is a wake-up call for the federal government, which must let the industry’s integrity bodies have better access to phone call and intercept data to protect the sport from organised crime. “If there are criminal elements capable of that here you can only imagine what those associated with illegal Asian bookmaking are capable of,” he said. Racing commentator Richard Freedman, the brother of Melbourne Cup winning trainers Lee and Anthony Freedman, says the attack on Bailey comes at a bad time for the sport but he doesn’t believe it will have a lasting negative effect. “I don’t want to sound blase about what happened to Terry because it’s appalling, but you have to take the long view — in the long term, the sport will be better.” Freedman agrees that racing is suffering from “the Tour de France syndrome”. “If you attempt to tackle cheats in your sport, you will expose yourself to claims your sport is full of cheats, because you will find them,’’ he said.   By Rick Wallace   Reprinted with permission of The Australian.com.au site

Last week, state officials announced that the financial health of the Pennsylvania Racing Fund was declining and had reached a point where it could no longer sustain or protect the integrity of the racing industry. Officials noted without a fix in place, racing may have to be suspended. A one-week timeline was instituted for all vested stakeholders to come to consensus on a solution to address the structural deficit. This evening, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture provided the following update regarding the matter: "Considerable progress has been made over the course of the last week, in particular, the last 24 hours," said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. "We appreciate the engagement of all the parties - everyone from the track operators, the horsemen, and members of the General Assembly. While there is agreement on a vast number of the issues, more work remains on a few important, final points. We've asked all of the parties to reconvene tomorrow to further discuss these remaining issues. We remain optimistic." William R. Nichols | Press Aide Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture | Press Office 2301 North Cameron Street | Hbg PA 17110 Phone: 717.787.5085 | Fax: 717.705.8402  

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