Further to events at Yarra Valley trots on 9 February, 2017, and the subsequent apology by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Board Member Danny Frawley, HRV wishes to advise the following. The matter was referred to the three independent members of the Integrity Council in February. The HRV Board has accepted all recommendations from this Integrity Council investigation, including the imposition of a $4000 fine upon Mr Frawley for his conduct, which involved inappropriate comments made towards licenced participant Greg Sugars. In addition, Mr Frawley, of his own volition, has enrolled in an AICD Director’s course, which will take place in October this year. HRV CEO David Martin said: “We are pleased the independent members of the Integrity Council have reviewed this matter and this outcome provides closure for all parties. I thank everyone involved for their cooperation throughout this investigation.” HRV Board Member Danny Frawley said: “My comments were regrettable and I accept the decision of the independent members of the Integrity Council. My role is to serve the industry as a member of the HRV Board and I look forward to putting this behind me and getting on with the job of helping the industry thrive. I’d also like to reiterate that I have the utmost respect for Greg Sugars and I thank him for his candour throughout this process.” Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager) Harness Racing Victoria
As Standardbred horsemen that participate in the harness racing New York Sire Stakes program we have very real reason for concern. The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund, which oversees monies used to administer the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS), is on the verge of replacing the Harness Horse Breeders of New York (HHBNYS) with the Albany based firm, Capitol Hill Management Services Inc. The President of Capitol Hill Management Services Inc. is John Graziano Jr., a politically appointed trustee on the New York Thoroughbred Breeding Development Fund as well as a registered lobbyist. For the past 50 years, since 1967 and the inception of the New York Sire Stakes program, the HHBNYS have been the administrative arm of the program. Handling the processing of NYSS eligibility payments, eligibility lists, the residency mare program, stallion registry, breeders rewards program, mares bred reports, shipped semen records, NYSS points records and purse breakdowns. The HHBNYS also provides for representation at NYSS race draws and representation at most NYSS racing events, as well as management of an industry website which tracks daily changes in the points based system for all divisions of Sire Stakes, Excelsior and County Fair events. The HHBNYS provides this service with a staff headed by Betty Holt and two office employees. Their projected budget for 2017 was to be $157,500. Conversely, Capitol Hill Management Services Inc. has submitted a working budget of $48,500 to administer this same program for 2017. With this bid, the New York Sire Stakes program will be one of 300 clients of this firm. As horsemen that are invested and interested in the future welfare of the New York program, we have several grave concerns with the direction in which the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding andDevelopment Fund is steering us. Prior to this year, the bylaws governing the administration of the management and integrity of the NYSS program has always contained a "lobbying clause" in each and every contract between the HHBNYS and the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. Specifically Political Activity. Funds provided pursuant to this Agreement shall not be used for any partisan political activity, or for activities that may influence legislation or the election or defeat of any candidate for public office. Based on Capitol Hill Management Services Inc. connection with political lobbying, we find it very curious that this language was removed from the contract this year. Further, we feel this proposed arrangement with Capitol Hill Management Services should not proceed until its officers and the officers of the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund explain, publicly under oath, why the so called "lobbying clause" in the agreement was deleted this year after being a part of the contract for so many previous years. Did Capitol Hill Management Services lobby for the change in the contract knowing that it would benefit from it? Did the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund members who approved the change receive some sort of benefit for deleting the clause? At a minimum the timing of the change in the proposed agreement and a lobbyist's push for the work, raise profound questions of ethics and propriety that must be answered for industry participants- owners, trainers, drivers, breeders, etc.- to have any measure of confidence that the proposed new agreement isn't some sort of "sweetheart" deal. Another requirement clause in the contract calls for the successful bidder to have a minimum of two years experience in the scope of work required. The successful bidder must have demonstrated knowledge of competitive equine racing programs that include point standings. While John Graziano Jr. may have some knowledge of Thoroughbred racing, we argue it doesn't make him necessarily experienced in tracking and administering a NYSS points based system program that involves multiple categories of sex and gait. NY Thoroughbred racing does not have a like format. In fact, no argument can be made that Capitol Hill Management Services has the requisite training under the rules. Nor has Capitol Hill Management Services publicly explained how it is going to do the same job or a better job of administering the program for one-third the cost, a difference that is so great as to raise questions about whether it is even possible for the scope of work to be performed at a level to which the industry has become accustomed. At a minimum, Capitol Hill Management Services should be required to publicly and precisely disclose how it intends to do the work. Which people, specifically, will be involved and what is their knowledge? What will be the scope of their work? As experienced horsemen that have worked for years with the HHBNYS, we know full well the depth of work involved and hours of commitment needed to provide the excellence in service required to fulfill the needs of this program. Each day there are a myriad of issues be it breeding, racing or otherwise that must be addressed by experienced and confident personnel. Race draw oversight, coupled entries and eligibility issues are regular issues that need professional and seasoned people to oversee and implement a successful and orderly program. As participants in the New York Sire Stakes program we rely on the ease of communication between horsemen and the HHBNYS to help answer and sort sometimes difficult interpretations of bylaws. Often times needing answers at odd hours of the day, weekday or weekend. These are circumstances that are often unpredictable but in need of immediate attention and direction. These are issues that we have historically relied upon the HHBNYS to respond to and handle with confidence. Everyone wants to keep costs down but the suspicious manner in which the contract was changed and they way in which the new group seeks to proceed, raises fundamental questions that must be cleared before the HHBNYS is replaced. We realize that the HHBNYS has not always perfectly administered the program but it has done so consistently in a way that has earned it the trust and respect of virtually every participant in the NYSS program. The HHBNYS deserves better than to be cast aside in this manner. As investors and participants in the New York Sire Stakes program we are outraged and dismayed with the current direction of the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund. This is not the type of leadership we can endorse or accept. The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund has a planned meeting scheduled for April 27th, at which time they are expected to "rubber stamp" their approval of Capitol Hill Management Services Inc. as the new administrative arm of OUR New York Sire Stakes program. We suggest that fellow horseman that feel similarly with us, contact the members of the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding and Development Fund directly to express your like disdain. Ronald Ochrym, Agricultural Fund Acting Executive Director, Ronald.email@example.com 518-388-0178; Peter Arrigenna, NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund Trustee, firstname.lastname@example.org 585-721-4869; Mike Kimleman, NYSS Horse Breeding Development Fund Trustee, email@example.com 845-249-5693; Richard Ball, Commissioner of Ag and Markets, Kim.Bosy@agriculture.ny.gov 518-457-8876 Time is of the essence people. Please make the call or send an email now. Let's keep control on how OUR New York Sire Stakes program is administered. Respectfully submitted.... Paul Kelley Linda Toscano Ken Jacobs Steve Jones Ray Schnittker George Ducharme Jeff Gregory Joe Faraldo Pres. SOA of NY Wanda Polisseni Harness Horse Breeders of New York State
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Wednesday, April 19, 2017) — Increased out-of-competition testing, investing in additional investigators and research into emerging threats is the most effective way to catch — and, more importantly, deter — cheating in horse racing. That was the big take-away from the drug-testing forum on opening day of the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s 83rd annual conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity at the Charleston Marriott. The panel featured Dr. Scott Stanley of the University of California, Davis, which conducts that state’s horse-racing testing; Dr. Anthony Fontana of Truesdail Laboratories; and, speaking via teleconferencing, Dr. George Maylin, the longtime director of the New York Equine Drug Testing and Research Laboratory. Also on the panel was Brice Cote, a former standardbred driver and detective in New Jersey State Police’s racetrack unit who heads the integrity efforts at The Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs harness tracks. Even if the panelists expressed varying beliefs on the prevalence of rules-violators, they all emphasized the importance of out-of-competition testing — taking samples from horses in between races — as a way to detect substances that no longer show in traditional blood or urine tests from samples taken immediately after a race but still could have an impact on a horse’s performance. "The only way we're going to stop this is by intelligence-based policing and out-of-competition testing," Cote said. “Most jurisdictions have very good drug testing,” Stanley said afterward. “We do robust testing, and most of the labs are accredited as well. Now we look at big challenges. And when you look at big challenges, you can make those mountains into molehills, or you can take them off one at a time and get them knocked down. We are doing both. We are taking the ones that have legitimate concerns for the industry, like cobalt when that came up. We found that, set a threshold, established rules and made that go away — quickly. Steroids, anabolic and corticosteroids, those now are well-regulated. This are big wins for the industry. They weren’t low-hanging fruit either. We still have some challenges that have now climbed the tree, they’re higher up. And we need to knock those off.” Stanley discussed the potential of “biological passports” as a tool, in its infancy of development for equines, that could be used in out-of-competition testing. The testing would provide a baseline result to which subsequent testing both pre-race and between races could be compared. “If they change abruptly, if the bio-markers tell us this horse was given an anabolic agent, we don’t have to detect it,” he said of the exact substance. “We’d be able to say, ‘This horse cannot naturally produce this profile. It has to be enhanced.’” “Informed testing, focused testing and targeting testing is something we need to put more emphasis on,” said ARCI president Ed Martin. “Out of competition testing should be expanded, but it’s real value doesn’t come until you’ve expended the research dollars to be able to detect the substances not being detected in the existing out-of-competition testing.” Also Tuesday: A panel of administrative veterinarians discussed keeping horses’ treatment records and the trust issues that arise among equine practitioners, horsemen and regulators as to proper use. Dr. Scott Palmer, New York’s equine medical director, said that regulators getting horses’ treatment records can benefit horsemen and veterinarians because of the research made possible. He noted that Depo-Medrol was the most popular corticosteroid used in joint injections up until 2012. Unknown at the time, the medication could pool in other tissue and stick around longer when used in hocks and stifles, trickier joints than ankles, Palmer said. “We discovered that Depo-Medrol could be found in the joint in a blood test of a horse as long as 100 days after the administration period,” he said. “The idea that you go on the (Racing Medication & Testing Consortium) guidelines and see 21 days for Depo-Medrol is a risky business. It wasn’t accurate, because there was such a variation in the amount of time that the Depo-Medrol would be discoverable in a post-race blood test.” Palmer said that, with what was learned from knowing the location of injections and the timing of administration, veterinarians were cautioned about using Depo-Medrol in the first place. He said that today in New York if a veterinarian uses Depo-Medrol, the horse must be tested for the substance before running. “That’s a good example how we can use the research findings from the medical records, the treatment records to protect people and help create a better regulatory policy,” Palmer said. A morning panel brought various perspectives on how to promote the good in horse racing while not ignoring issues facing the sport. Wagner to players: ‘Regulators do strive to get it right’ Judy Wagner, outgoing ARCI chair and horse racing’s First Lady of Handicapping, had a message for her fellow horseplayers. Wagner is the 2001 National Horseplayers Championship winner, the horseplayers’ representative on the board of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the vice chair of the Louisiana Racing Commission. With her one-year term as ARCI chair ending Thursday, she’ll hand the baton to chair-elect Jeff Colliton of the Washington Horse Racing Commission. “As a horseplayer — and this is a message that I want to get across to horseplayers: Regulators do strive to get it right,” she told the audience at the Charleston Marriott for the three-day conference. “We really want to make the players, everybody in the industry, feel that we have an industry of integrity. “Let handicappers know that they have a product that they can respect; they don’t have to handicap the rumors that this trainer is doping horses or whatever. And saying that, I wish that we could educate the public that there is a difference between d-o-p-e and legal medication to help the horse. There is a place for therapeutic drugs.” Committee recommends banning Clenbuterol for Quarter Horses The Quarter Horse Racing Committee voted 5-3 to recommend amending the ARCI model rule to prohibit the bronchodilator Clenbuterol in Quarter Horse and mixed-breed races, with testing in blood serum and plasma, urine and hair permitted. The recommendation now goes to the Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee for consideration, then the Model Rules Committee and ultimately the ARCI board, if approved at each step. Clenbuterol is a useful therapeutic medication to treat respiratory ailments, but its abuse to build muscle mass sparked American Quarter Horse Association officials to request that it be completely banned in their breed. The abuse is not seen with Thoroughbreds, for which such muscle build-up could impede running that breed’s longer distances, officials said. The AQHA officials requested that the rule be breed-specific. “We don’t feel it is our job to take it away from other breeds,” said Janet VanBebber, the AQHA’s chief racing officer. “But we readily acknowledge that there is abuse within our breed of the sport.” The three racing jurisdictions voting against the recommendation said they thought it should be banned for all breeds. Ed Martin ARCI president
The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today heard a matter in regards to a charge issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Rule of Harness Racing (ARHR) 190(1) against licensed trainer Mr Boris Devcic. ARHR 190(1) reads as follows: A horse shall be presented for a race free of prohibited substances. The charge under ARHR 190(1) issued by HRV Stewards against Mr Devcic related to a post-race urine sample taken from the horse ‘Noble Julius’ after it won Race 7, the ‘Weightman’s Packing & Stationary Pace’, at Mildura on 23 November 2016. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the urine sample revealed the sample to contain the prohibited substance caffeine. The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) in NSW reported confirmation of these findings in the reserve portion of the relevant urine sample. Mr Devcic pleaded guilty to the charge before submissions on penalty were heard from HRV Stewards and Mr Devcic. Further evidence was also heard from RASL Scientific Manager Mr Paul Zahra. In deciding an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board considered Mr Devcic’s guilty plea and co-operation throughout the investigation, Mr Devcic’s record in regard to prohibited substance matters where a previous offence was some 17 years prior, both general and specific deterrence, consistency of penalty and the absolute liability nature of the offence. Mr Devcic was subsequently fined $6000. The HRV RAD Board also ordered that ‘Noble Julius’ be disqualified from Race 7 at Mildura on 23 November 2016, under ARHR 195, and that the finishing places be amended accordingly. Harness Racing Victoria
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Tuesday, April 18, 2017) — Are our testing laboratories catching the cheaters? And are our racing officials getting it right? Those are among the hot-button topics that promise insightful and lively discussion at the ARCI Conference on Racing Integrity and Welfare that runs Tuesday through Thursday at the Charleston Marriott. The three days of panels and presentations address issues facing members of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, which represents the only independent entities recognized by law to license, make and enforce rules and adjudicate matters pertaining to pari-mutuel racing. Paul Matties Jr., winner of the 2016 National Handicapping Championship, will provide a horseplayer’s perspective into whether today’s racing officials are making the correct calls. Joining Matties on the “Questioning Whether Racing Officials Get It Right” session on Wednesday morning will be veteran steward Hugh Gallagher, chair of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program and the New York Racing Association’s first safety steward, and Maryland Racing Commission executive director and ARCI treasurer Mike Hopkins. Outgoing ARCI chair and 2001 NHC tournament winner Judy Wagner serves as moderator. “Any time I can represent the horseplayers, I’m always honored,” said the 47-year-old Matties, a professional gambler and horse owner from Ballston Spa, N.Y. “It’s become commonplace in the industry over time that the players are the ones who are forgotten when decisions need to be made. I’m optimistic that somebody is reaching out. All horseplayers go about things in different ways. I’ve been thinking about it, so I can represent everybody — not just what I believe. I’m going to think of it as we’re a group. “I’m not going there to be critical of anything that has been done in the past. Let’s look at future things. I’m excited to go, and I’m curious what kind of things I’ll be asked. I hope Judy doesn’t take it easy on me. I want it to be substantive.” Wagner, who is vice chair of the Louisiana Racing Commission and the horseplayers’ representative on the board of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, said the panel is part of ARCI’s outreach to players to “listen and ensure a product that has a high level of integrity. “We want this panel — and the others at the conference — to provide unvarnished insight and dialogue on how we can improve, as well as what we are doing right.” “ARCI members work for the public and not any aspect of the industry,” said ARCI president Ed Martin. “We are always careful to keep the horseplayer in mind with everything we do. Horseplayers outnumber everyone else and keep the sport going. We should never forget that. “There are many racing-related meetings each year by various groups, but the annual RCI conference is the only one where industry issues and potential solutions are discussed directly with the people who actually make and enforce the rules throughout North America and parts of the Caribbean. The regulatory standards determined at this meeting more often than not actually become the policy affecting everyone involved in racing. The RCI members are the only truly independent arbiters of racing-related matters as designated by the various laws that have empowered them.” Other panels at the conference: “Drug Testing Forum: Are We Doing It Right? Are We Catching the Cheaters?” “Veterinarians: Racing Records and the Trust Issue” “The Adjudication System: Is there a Better Way?” “Policing the Backside: A View From the Front Line” “Regulating the Whip and Crop” “Promoting Racing - Putting our Best Foot Forward in a Storm of Negativity” Presentations include “The Challenge in Adapting New Technology and Opportunities to Statutory Limitations.” Meetings include: model-rules committee, drug testing standards, ARCI’s annual business meeting and board organizational sessions as well as the regulators’ Standardbred and Quarter Horse racing committees. Wednesday’s luncheon speaker features Bennett Liebman, Esq., the Albany Law School’s Government Lawyer-in-Residence, giving a talk entitled, “Confessions of a Recovering Racing Regulator.” The complete agenda and information about speakers can be found at http://bit.ly/2oGkAcj. Ed Martin, ARCI president
Summer nights on Caroline Street, where people gather for a vibrant night life, can easily get out of hand. That's why the Saratoga Springs police have added a new officer to the force. His name is Apollo and he has been hired to control the crowds on one of the city's rowdiest streets. The officer is a large standardbred horse. And while the rookie is well-schooled in pulling a sulky and running on the inside at the harness tracks, the chestnut recruit is about to learn a new set of skills at the equine police academy. "He needs to be desensitized to noise, gunfire, opening umbrellas, fireworks," said Aaron Moore, one of the mounted police officers who will accompany Apollo at the training academy in Rockland County. "He'll also learn formation and crowd control, things that are bread and butter for us." This week, he's learning the basics – getting used a saddle and a man on his back. Moore expects him to do well. "He's got such a great disposition," Moore said. "As soon as I saw him, I fell in love. He has a lot of learning to do, but he's gentle, a friend to all. I knew he was our guy." Apollo, who was named by a fifth-grade class at Division Street Elementary School, replaces the 23-year-old Jupiter, who retired after 14 years on the beat. He's being formally adopted by Moore and will remain stabled with King Tut, the police's other equine officer. "We are making arrangements for him to stay where he is now," said Sgt. Aaron Benware, head of the police's mounted unit. "He's has a really good bond with Tut. And even though Jupiter is retired, he's still a police officer. We are keeping him in the family." Jupiter, like all standardbreds, has a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years. Apollo is 10 years old and 16.3 hands tall — a good size when controlling brash and boozy members of the public. His calm and friendly nature is also an asset in the crowd and with school children who he will regularly visit for pizza parties as part of his beat. The horses are excellent public relations ambassadors. "My main focus with the horses is not just crowd control," Benware said. "It's about making contact with the community. When one of the horses comes out, our involvement with the community goes up." As for Jupiter, who is also being stabled with Apollo, Benware says he's getting extra special care. "He's getting a lot of treats," Benware said. "He earned his retirement." By Wendy Liberatore Reprinted with permission of the lmtonline.com site
Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have completed an inquiry into the whip use of George Schembri, when the driver of Surf On By, during the preliminary of Race 3 at the Kilmore meeting conducted on Friday, 24 March 2017. The inquiry was initially adjourned to allow Stewards the opportunity to source further footage and information regarding this incident. Veterinary examinations conducted on Surf On By approximately thirty (30) and sixty (60) minute post-race did not reveal any significant findings. After hearing further evidence from Mr Schembri at today’s reconvened inquiry HRV Stewards issued two (2) charges against Mr Schembri under the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR). Charge one (1) was issued under the provisions of AHRR 168(1)(e) which states: A person shall not before, during or after a race drive in a manner which is in the opinion of the Stewards:- (e) improper The particulars of the charge being that during the preliminary Mr Schembri drove in an improper manner by raising his whip hand above head height and using the whip with severe force on 5 occasions. Charge two (2) was issued under the provisions of AHRR 156(2) which states: (2) A driver shall hold a rein in each hand at all times unless he or she is adjusting approved gear. The particulars of the charge being that during the preliminary Mr Schembri used the whip on 5 occasions free of the rein when not adjusting approved gear. Mr Schembri pleaded guilty to both charges. In assessing penalty Stewards were mindful of: Mr Schembri’s guilty plea; Mr Schembri’s prior offence record; Mr Schembri’s personal circumstances; The nature of this incident, which is clearly in contrast to industry standards; The incident was visible to those persons on-course and also captured by the Sky Racing International coverage. The following penalties were subsequently imposed: Charge one (1) – Three (3) month suspension of Mr Schembri’s licence to drive in races and a $1,000 fine. Charge two (2) - $500 fine. In total a three (3) month suspension of Mr Schembri’s licence to drive in races was imposed, along with fines totaling $1,500. This suspension was ordered to commence midnight 17 April 2017. Harness Racing Victoria
On 12 April 2017, Harness Racing SA (HRSA) Stewards conducted an inquiry into a report received from Racing Analytical Services Ltd (RASL) that Cobalt was detected in a urine sample taken from GENUINE EXCUSE NZ prior to it competing in Race 9, Farewell Come On Frank Pace at Globe Derby Park on 7 January 2017. The B sample was confirmed above the threshold by the ChemCentre in Western Australia. Evidence was taken from trainer Nick Tardio regarding his feeding and treatment regime including his possible explanation for the elevated readings. Mr Tardio pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 190(1),(2) &(4) in that he presented GENUINE EXCUSE NZ to race at Globe Derby Park on 7 January 2017 not free of a prohibited substance. Mr Tardio was disqualified for 2 years effective immediately and ordered to pay $1500 to HRSA to cover costs incurred including analytical testing. Acting under Rule 195 GENUINE EXCUSE NZ was disqualified from its seventh placing and all placings amended accordingly. In determining penalty, Stewards took into account: his guilty plea the period of time Mr Tardio has been involved in training horses the penalties applied in other Cobalt cases in SA and other States the personal circumstances of Mr Tardio. Mr Tardio was advised his rights of appeal. Reid Sanders ACTING CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS
Developers of a new project that includes a harness racing track and casino facility in Pennsylvania have revealed plans of what the project will entail, including a new hotel and dining venues. Back in January, David LeVan, a local entrepreneur made the announcement that he was applying for casino licensing in Pennsylvania that was reserved for harness racing tracks. This was the only available license and LeVan had plans to create a casino and track, which would be known as Mason-Dixon Downs. The venue would be located off Route 15 on a piece of land located in the Freedom Township. By February, representatives of the project asked the officials of the Freedom Township to begin considering a change to the zoning ordinance. LeVan had a purchase agreement for 700 acres of land, with some of the land being considered as mixed-use which means that it would not specifically be allowed for harness racing or a casino. Last Wednesday, the representatives of Mason-Dixon Downs along with LeVan presented their plans for the project, to the members of the planning commission as well as the public. The presentation included proposed amendments the group hope to see changed in regards to the zoning issue. According to a report by The Evening Sun, the amendments would see changes such as the minimum required lot area to be 500 acres, the main buildings (including the racetrack) be at least 500 feet from public roads that exist during the time frame of the application and that 60% of the land for the project will remain as open space. The amendments also included the fact that a hotel and restaurants must be included in the design of the site and not in a remote location away from the racing/gaming venue. Parking, wastewater systems, water, building height and several other aspects were also covered during the presentation to give the public and commission insight into the full plans of the company. The addition of a hotel, conference center and restaurants to the plans were made due to a recent market study solicited by LeVan. According to study, it was suggested that adding a 200 guest room hotel, a conference center and restaurants would result in an enhancement of revenues. This is not the first time that LeVan has tried to bring a casino to the area. In 2005 and 2006, he worked on a plan that failed along with an attempt in 2010 when he saw contention against plans to create a venue that proponents felt would encroach on the Gettysburg National Military Park. As far as this recent project is concerned, over 100 individuals were at the meeting last week to show support as well as protest the plans. The members of the planning commission voted to table the discussion and review the plans further. By Marie Kelley Reprinted with permission from World Casino News
The harness racing race-fixing scandal has widened, with authorities identifying at least two more allegedly fixed races. Police will allege harness trainer-driver Bart Cockburn, 27, who was charged with four race-fixing offences, was involved in a fix in three separate races from November last year, all at Brisbane’s Albion Park. Cockburn was alleged to have participated in a fix on November 12 last year, when fellow driver-trainer Dayl March was also alleged to have been involved in an organised race result. March was charged with the race-fixing offence under the Queensland Criminal Code earlier in the week. It is understood while both March and Cockburn colluded to win the race on November 12, neither were able to pull off the alleged fix. The Sunday Mail understands Cockburn’s charges also relate to a November 5 race in which he drove the fourth-placed Marty Bee, and a January 27, 2017, race in which he came second on Major Kiwi. Authorities say the alleged fixing charges did not always mean the accused was attempting to win the race. Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett indicated there would be more charges to follow in the coming weeks as the investigation into the fixed races continues to evolve. “This is an emerging picture,” he said. “As we talk to more people and arrest more people, it will deepen our understanding of what is going on in the industry. “Other people will be interviewed and potentially charged in the coming days and weeks.” Part of the police investigation now and in the future will focus on betting activity that has accompanied the alleged fixing activity, where it may have occurred through either legal or illegal methods. Bart Cockburn placed 5th in the 2015-16 drivers’ premiership race, steering home 100 winners in his 676 starts. He amassed a total of more than $870,000 prize money for connections over the premiership season. By Trenton Akers Reprinted with permission of The Courier-Mail
A Warwick man has been arrested in relation to what authorities have called a "loose cartel" of harness racing drivers and trainers involved in race fixing in Queensland. Trainer-driver Dayl March, 46 from Warwick, was this week arrested and charged with race fixing. It relates to Race 2 at Albion Park on November 12 last year, where it will be alleged March organised corruptly the outcome of that race. The 46-year-old was arrested following search warrants carried out by detectives from the Queensland Racing Crime Squad, attached to the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission. In a press conference this morning, Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker said March has had his licence suspended and was due to face Brisbane Magistrates Court on May 10. "This is the first time an arrest has been made in relation to race fixing in harness racing in Queensland and further arrests are expected to be made," he said. "Once a person is charged with an offence relating to match fixing, their licence is automatically suspended. "The commission then has the power to suspend their licence for life." The maximum penalty for race fixing - a recent addition to the Queensland Criminal Code - is 10 years imprisonment. In the past week, police have visited properties of five harness racing participants in Warwick, The Gap, Logan Village, Redcliffe and Limestone Ridges as part of the joint investigation between the QRIC, Crime and Corruption Commission and Queensland Police. Detectives seized mobile phones, computers, documents and clothing that will now be forensically examined. Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said the investigation started just weeks after the commission was formed in July last year. "This has been a long- running investigation that highlights the importance of inter-agency co-operation," Mr Barnett said. "The investigation has identified a loose cartel of drivers and trainers involved in systemic race fixing ... who decide who will win the race and how they will win it. "We are not talking every race or even every race meeting, but certainly more than one race - it is more frequent than it is rare." Mr Barnett said there was no suggestion there was any involvement of stewards in race fixing and urged anyone aware of misconduct to come forward. Darling Downs Harness Racing Club president Anthony Collins declined to comment. Warwick Turf Club president Phil Grant said it was a shock to learn of the arrest this morning. "Though harness racing is separate to the thoroughbred racing, it's definitely not something we want to see Warwick in the news for," Mr Grant said. "It's not something I've ever seen before - I can't think of the last time there's been an allegation (of race fixing) in the thoroughbred industry. "Racing Queensland brought in the commission to enforce the regulation and ensure no one is able to fix a race so now it's up to the courts to decide whether he's done the wrong thing." Mr Barnett said the commission ultimately hoped to improve confidence in the racing industry as a result of the investigation. "We think this could have a short term negative impact on confidence in the sport but in the long-term I believe this will be of benefit to the industry," he said. "This is solely the fault of the greedy and corrupt people who have participated in match fixing who have damaged the sport they participate in and claim to love. "I believe dealing with these issues will eventually lead to increased wagering confidence in the industry." Sophie Lester Reprinted with permission of The Warick Daily News
The Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) has opened an investigation into a public fight understood to involve greyhound licence holders. Mike Godber, general manager of the RIU, has confirmed there is an investigation into the nasty incident that took place in front of hundreds of people at the Manawatu Harness Racing Club's night meeting in Palmerston North on March 31. The unsavoury scuffle took place in a public area in front of a sizeable crowd at Manawatu Raceway, mid-way through the last race of the harness meeting. A greyhound meeting was held at the same venue earlier in the evening. Police were called to what was described to them as an altercation between a man and woman. However, the man had already left when they arrived and no arrests were made at the raceway. Stuff understands at least three licence holders and a former licence holder were involved in the incident. As part of the investigation, the RIU is interviewing witnesses. Godber said it was still early in the investigation and the RIU was working to identify all parties involved. All licence holders involved would be interviewed when identified, he said. The dual code meeting was part of the Gold Cup festival in Manawatu, with the Group I thoroughbreds meeting held at Awapuni the following day. Godber said it was too early to speculate on any course of disciplinary action and no further comment would be made until the investigation was completed. The crowd was one of the best of the season at Palmerston North track which is used for harness and greyhound racing. Sources have described the actions of the those involved as "disgusting", especially given how hard many people across the three codes have worked to make the Gold Cup festival successful. Greyhound Racing New Zealand chief executive Phil Holden has been approached for comment. A security company was on course to control the event and there were no other issues at the meeting. Mat Kermeen Reprinted with permission of Stuff
Detectives from the Queensland Racing Crime Squad attached to the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission have this week executed search warrants at properties of five harness racing participants. This resulted in the arrest of a 46-year-old Warwick man who has been charged with one count of Match Fixing under the Queensland Criminal Code. This action is the result of a protracted investigation by the QPS, CCC and QRIC into systemic match fixing in the harness racing industry. Premises visited this week included properties at Limestone Ridges, Warwick, The Gap, Logan Village and Redcliffe. Detectives seized mobile phones, computers, documents and clothing. The items will now be forensically examined as part of the investigation. Since its inception July 1 2016 the QRCS has been collocated with the Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner at Albion and is tasked with investigating serious animal cruelty, match fixing and major and organised crime across all three codes of racing. Queensland Police If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day. You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.
Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have issued charges against licensed trainer Michael Doltoff under Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) 196B (1) and 187(2) (two charges). The allegations being that Mr Doltoff as the trainer of the horse Valtona, which was engaged to compete in Race 3 at the Yarra Valley harness racing meeting on 9 December, 2016, administered an injection to Valtona on 8 December 2016, without the permission of the Stewards. The other allegations relate to Mr Doltoff providing false and misleading evidence to HRV Stewards during the course of their investigation. The charges will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be determined.
In January 2016, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards were aware of an incident that occurred at an agistment property in Avoca, whereby the Standardbred horse ‘Loveyougoodboy’ was required to be humanely euthanised. In January 2017, following an investigation by the RSPCA, which culminated in the RSPCA issuing criminal charges against licensed person Mr Chris Angove, HRV Stewards enabled Mr Angove the opportunity to provide submissions as to why the provisions of Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 183 should not be invoked. After considering such submissions, on 31 January 2017, HRV Stewards suspended Mr Angove’s trainer and driver licences in accordance with the provisions of AHRR 183. At the Maryborough Magistrates Court on 16 March 2017, Mr Angove was issued a fine of $1000 without conviction in relation to the applicable charges, as a result of breaching the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, specifically Section 9(1)(c) and Section 10(1). On 3 April 2017, Mr Angove appeared before the HRV Stewards in relation to the proceedings before the Maryborough Magistrates Court. After considering all relevant information and being provided with submissions in relation to this case, HRV Stewards considered invoking AHRR 267(1) which states: Subject to sub-rule (2) the Stewards may for such period and on such conditions as they think fit, disqualify a person who is found guilty of a crime or an offence in any State or Territory of Australia or in any country, After careful consideration, HRV Stewards invoked AHRR 267(1) and imposed a twelve (12) month term of disqualification upon Mr Angove, which was backdated to commence at midnight 31 January 2017. When assessing penalty in this instance, HRV Stewards acknowledged the following factors: The serious nature of this matter and the absolute need to uphold high standards in relation to horse welfare in line with community and industry expectations; The responsibility upon all persons involved in the harness racing industry to demonstrate adequate and appropriate care for horses; Prior penalties that have been issued under similar circumstances; That in comparison to other horse welfare related cases, this occurence was an isolated, although preventable incident; Mr Angove’s admittance to this incident, long-standing and exemplary record over a period of some 43 years and; The impact of a period of disqualification upon Mr Angove and his immediate family. Harness Racing Victoria
HRV RAD Board Hearing – William Galea. The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today heard a matter in regards to a charge issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1) against licensed trainer Mr William Galea. AHRR 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 Mr Galea related to a urine sample collected from the horse ‘Rocknroll Dancer’ at the Bacchus Marsh trials on 14 November 2015. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the urine sample revealed the sample to contain a prohibited substance, namely arsenic, in excess of the allowable threshold. Note: Australian Harness Racing Rules definition of ‘Race’- means a race or official trial or official time trial or event in which harness horses race or participate. Mr Galea pleaded guilty to the charge before submissions were heard from HRV stewards and Mr Galea. In deciding an appropriate penalty, the HRV RAD Board considered the general sentencing principles, the nature of the substance involved, other previous cases involving the substance throughout Australia, Mr Galea’s guilty plea and his co-operation throughout the investigation. Although noting that Mr Galea has had previous offences in relation to prohibited substances these were taking within the context of the sentencing principles outlined in the High Court decision of Veen v the Queen (No.2) . Mr Galea was subsequently fined $5000 of which $2500 was suspended for a period of 12 months. Rocknroll Dancer was also disqualified from the relevant trial under AHRR195. ................................................... HRV RAD Board Hearing – Allan Lousada The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board today heard a matter in regards to a charge issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190(1) against licensed trainer Mr Allan Lousada. The charge related to a urine sample collected from the horse ‘Fiftyshadesofbrown’ after it won Race 2 at the Warragul harness racing meeting on 19 January 2016. Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) reported that analysis of the urine sample revealed the sample to contain a prohibited substance, namely arsenic, in excess of the allowable threshold. During the hearing, Mr Lousada and Ms Georgina Coram (owner of Fiftyshadesofbrown) requested an adjournment to enable them to obtain further advice in regard to the matter. After considering this submission, the RAD board adjourned the hearing to a later date. For more on Arsenic click here. And this is an interesting article!