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The California Horse Racing Board conducted two separate meetings on Thursday, March 26, by teleconference. The public participated by dialing into the teleconference and/or listening through the audio webcast link on the CHRB website. Both meetings were chaired by Dr. Gregory Ferraro, joined for the first meeting by Vice Chair Oscar Gonzales and Commissioners Dennis Alfieri, Damascus Castellanos, Wendy Mitchell, and Alex Solis. Commissioner Mitchell did not participate in the second meeting. The audios of these two meetings are available on the CHRB Website (www.chrb.ca.gov) under the Webcast link. In brief, during the first, regular meeting: Chairman Ferraro opened the meeting by welcoming Commissioner Castellanos to his initial meeting as a member of the Board. Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Commissioner Castellanos on March 10. In two separate but related actions involving both emergency and permanent rules, the Board voted to re-establish the 48-hour restriction on the administration of medications or other substances to horses entered to race unless otherwise authorized by regulation. The change to the emergency regulation went into effect immediately, while the permanent rule was approved for 15-day public notice. The Board approved a regulatory amendment prohibiting the administration of the anti-bleeder medication furosemide to 2-year-olds. The amendment also reduces by half the level that can be administered to horses permitted to race with furosemide. The Board put over to the April 22 meeting further discussion of a regulatory amendment clarifying that racing veterinarians are under the direction of Official Veterinarians, allowing racing associations input, as requested by The Stronach Group. The Board approved for public notice an amendment to the rule governing penalties that makes veterinarians and other licensees who violate shock wave therapy regulations subject to the same penalties as trainers. The Board approved a regulatory amendment requiring individuals to hold an assistant trainer's license in good standing for one year as a qualification for a trainer's license. The Board approved a requirement for practicing veterinarians to use an electronic on-line form prescribed by the Board when submitting their required veterinarian reports to the Official Veterinarian. The Board approved a regulatory amendment requiring trainers to maintain treatment records of all medications they administer to horses in their care at facilities within the CHRB's jurisdiction. The Board authorized the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club to distribute $90,839 in race day charity proceeds to nine beneficiaries and another $13,744 to four beneficiaries. The Board designated the 2020 fair racing sessions in Pleasanton, Sacramento, Ferndale, and Fresno as a combined meet for pari-mutuel purposes. The Board approved an industry agreement.to use a designated portion of Advance Deposit Wagering revenue that would ordinarily go to horsemen's purses and racetrack commissions to be used to fund a California co-op marketing program. After the conclusion of the first, regular meeting, the Board reconvened the teleconference to hold a special meeting to address a single agenda item. The Board approved a change to the license application of Watch & Wager LLC, allowing harness racing at Cal Expo to switch race days from Fridays and Saturdays to Tuesdays and Wednesdays.   Reprinted with permission of The Paulick Report

East Rutherford, NJ - Be advised that any horse that was being trained by a harness racing trainer named in the recent Federal indictments at the time those indictments were handed down will not be accepted to race at The Meadowlands, Tioga or Vernon Downs in overnights or stakes for 60 days from the date that the tracks reopen for live racing.    

Perhaps the biggest scandal in all of U.S. sports to come out in the past year is the federal indictment of dozens of thoroughbred and harness racing insiders alleged to have been involved in doping leading racehorses. And while the initial indictments came on March 9, other indictments trickled out even as the COVID-19 disaster overtook virtually the entire news cycle. But the stunning allegations are no less stunning because of the timing. The main indictment had as its stars Monmouth Park thoroughbred big names Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis — but later ones placed Yonkers Raceway and its harness racing leading lights in its target. The Yonkers horse racing community already was reeling from the deaths of three trainers from COVID-19, including the first fatality of a New Jersey resident. Rene Allard, who at $5.8 million in purse winnings was third in the industry in North America last year, has been charged in a conspiracy involving longtime veterinarian Louis Grasso, who was indicted on Feb. 26 for allegedly misbranding drugs in interstate commerce. Last fall, according to the indictment, Grasso and another alleged co-conspirator, Ross Cohen, discussed the fact that a number of Allard’s horses had died. The disturbing conversation Cohen, according to the indictment, asked Grasso, “What’s going on with the Allard death camp?” Grasso then said “two or maybe three” horses have died from “amino acids” that caused “high fever, kidneys shut down.” “One of them just died on the table, they just cut him open and poof it died,” Grasso is alleged to have said. Cohen: “Holy f-ck f-ck did they do an autopsy.” Grasso: “Their heart rate was like triple they were breathing real heavy their membranes were going f-cking purple.” Allard — second in earnings at Yonkers so far this year — also is alleged to have sent a text message to Grasso in October 2019 that read: “I will need 3 bottles of red Acid [an anti-inflammatory drug] to go to canada Thursday.” Per the indictment, a barn raid on March 9 in Middletown, N.Y. — where Allard stabled a number of horses — led to the discovery of multiple syringes and numerous bottles of mislabeled drugs. Other harness racing figures indicted Also named is Donato Poliseno, owner of a veterinary supply business in Delaware who is alleged to have purchased and distributed PEDs from Grasso. Trainers Thomas Guido III and Conor Flynn are alleged to have obtained the PEDs from Grasso as well. Richard Banca, the leading trainer at Yonkers Raceway so far this year, was named in a separate indictment on similar charges and employed Flynn. Banca owns the Middletown, N.Y. facility that was raided, according to his indictment. “Flynn has stated, in substance and in part, that Flynn administers horses owned, trained, or otherwise under Banca’ s control, with PEDs at Banca’s direction,” the indictment alleges. Banca first rose up to the top ranks at Yonkers in 2015, producing 174 winners — more than double his previous best — and another 200 in 2016. Allard and Banca were the two trainers involved in a controversy at the Meadowlands Racetrack in 2017, when each — already banned at that track by owner Jeff Gural — turned over the reins of horses that were then allowed to race. Among the PEDs involved aside from “red acid”: Erythropoietin, better known by brand name Epogen and nicknamed “epo” in the industry and designed to improve endurance A variety of “pain shots” or “joint blocks” designed to deaden a horse’s nerves, which can result in leg fractures that require a racehorse to be euthanized Bronchodilators, or “Bronk,” designed to increase a horse’s oxygen intake The latest indictments, if proven, echo the callousness for the welfare of racehorses demonstrated in the Navarro and Servis indictments. In February 2019, Servis is alleged to have warned Navarro via text about a racing official. Navarro then allegedly told another conspirator, “He would have caught our asses f-cking pumping and pumping and fuming every f-cking horse that runs today.” By John Brennan John Brennan has covered NJ and NY sports business and gaming since 2002 and was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist in 2008, while reporting for The Bergen County Record. Reprinted with permission of The njonlinegambling.com

Surveillance Firm Played Role in Federal Indictments The Jockey Club, Meadowlands employ 5 Stones intelligence. During the past four years, The Jockey Club and Meadowlands Racetrack have retained the services of a leading international investigative company, and that association might have paid a dividend in the recent federal indictments of Thoroughbred trainers Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro as well as several harness racing trainers in a doping scheme. Through the recommendation of officials from the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency, The Jockey Club turned to 5 Stones intelligence in 2016 to provide confidential investigative services.  "It is vitally important to the sport that it is regulated competently and by authorities that are independent," said James Gagliano, the president and chief operating officer for The Jockey Club. "That is a hallmark of the Horseracing Integrity Act, and it has never been more important to the sport, given the events of this week." Meadowlands owner Jeff Gural, who operates a harness racing meet at the New Jersey racetrack, said he also employed 5 Stones and that information from 5 Stones played a role in the federal indictments of 29 people that were announced March 9-11 by the United States District Attorney, Southern District of New York. "We participated with The Jockey Club in retaining (5 Stones) to help lead the FBI in the right direction," Gural said. Gagliano said The Jockey Club is continuing its engagement with 5 Stones. He added that the indictments illustrate horse racing's urgent need to support passage of the Horseracing Integrity Act, which calls for a single non-governmental, anti-doping authority to oversee medication rules and testing. "This crisis has to be a rallying point for the sport," Gagliano said. "In my view, passage of the Horseracing Integrity Act will lay the foundation for a once-in-a-century system change that puts welfare and integrity as the guiding principles of how the sport is regulated." Gural echoed the call for passage of the HIA, saying racetracks have been turning a blind eye to cheaters for far too long. "All the racetrack owners in the country who said they cared about this didn't care. They had to know the only way to catch these guys was through undercover and surveillance companies. Without them, you were just giving lip service that you cared," Gural said. "There's no gray area when it comes to honesty. Everyone knew the system was broken, but no one cared about it. There's no way we can tell people in politics that we care if we don't let the USADA take over. The funny thing is that when I would talk to people who oppose the government taking over, the next thing I would ask is if the current system is working, and 100% would say no. I don't understand that. They knew the system wasn't working, and they were happy with it.  "If we don't bring in the USADA now and get behind the (HIA), we should shut down the sport. It would say we really don't care." According to the company website, "5 Stones intelligence is a leading intelligence and investigative company based in Miami, with offices throughout the world. 5Si possesses the world's largest private HUMINT intelligence network and supports intelligence collection and analysis, global investigations, and operations support for Governments and corporations." Servis, who trains recent Saudi Cup winner Maximum Security, who was disqualified from first to 17th in last year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), and Navarro, the seven-time leading trainer at Monmouth Park, are scheduled to be arraigned March 23 on charges of a misbranding conspiracy.  BloodHorse reported March 14 that Servis and Navarro could appear before the New York federal court for arraignment and initial conference either in person or by telephone conference in a concession to travel difficulties because of COVID-19. The indictment charged that Servis had performance-enhancing drugs administered to "virtually all of the racehorses under his care" and that Navarro orchestrated "a widespread scheme of covertly obtaining and administering various adulterated and misbranded PEDs to horses under his control." Navarro is facing two counts of the misbranding charge, each carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Servis was charged with one count and could be imprisoned for up to five years if found guilty. Among the harness trainers indicted are Rene Allard, who was third in North American earnings last year, Richard Banca, Nick Surick, Chris Oakes, Chris Marino, Rick Dane Jr., and assistant trainer Conor Flynn. Allard, Banca, Oakes and Marino were barred by Gural from racing at Meadowlands prior to the indictments. Banca and Allard are the runaway leaders at the current Yonkers Raceway meet, combining for 367 wins in 2020 before racing was suspended due to COVID-19 after the March 9 card. Gural believes there will be more indictments in the weeks and months to come. "People will (provide information to authorities)," Gural said. "Anyone who used these people who were indicted cannot be sleeping well." By Bob Ehalt Reprinted with permission of bloodhorse.com

Hightstown, NJ — The new editions of DRF Harness Digest, Harness Racing Update, and HarnessRacing Weekend Preview feature stories related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and harness racing. Among the stories available from those outlets, DRF’s Derick Giwner wrote Thursday about the lasting impact COVID-19 could have on the industry. “By the time Spring rolls around the harness racing world is usually enjoying the start of stakes racing at Yonkers Raceway where the top older pacers gather for the Borgata (nee Levy) and Matchmaker series,” Giwner wrote. “Yet as the seasons change on March 20 we are left in limbo due to the coronavirus, not just in terms of when we’ll see the best the Standardbred sport has to offer but also when it comes to the normalcy of a steady racing schedule.” To read the full story, click here. Note that several tracks have suspended operations in the time since the story was published, such as Miami Valley, Northfield, Rosecroft, and Rideau Carleton. HRU’s Dave Briggs talked to Hambletonian Society President John Campbell. “I think there’s a certain segment of the public that’s not taking it as seriously as they should,” Campbell said Wednesday. “I think everybody has to…be diligent in this social distancing and limiting what you do when you’re out in public. Just be out in public the least amount that you possibly can.” To read the full story, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Columbus, OH — Saturday’s (March 21) NJ.com reported on the death of five New Jersey harness racing horsemen, including four from the Fusco family. To read the complete story click here. from the USTA Communications Department

The question of whether racing will be forced to shut down in the coming days is set to become clearer following a meeting of the National Cabinet on Sunday Night.  Racing's ability to proceed appeared to be diminished on Sunday after states flagged tougher measures to be implemented early this week to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.  Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian have announced their intention to implement a shutdown of all non-essential activity across their respective states over the next 48 hours. "This is not something that we do lightly, but it’s clear that if we don’t take this step, more Victorians will contract coronavirus, our hospitals will be overwhelmed and more Victorians will die," Mr Andrews said in a statement. "Victorians will still be able to go to the supermarket, the bank, the pharmacy and other essential stores, like petrol stations and convenience stores. Freight, logisitics and home delivery are also considered essential and will remain open."   "I will also inform National Cabinet that school holidays will be brought forward in Victoria, starting on Tuesday 24 March."   Dan Andrews   ✔@DanielAndrewsMP     Statement on Victoria's response to Coronavirus:       In a statement on Sunday night, Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson said meetings were scheduled on Monday to clarify what the latest government measures mean for racing.  “We note the comments today by the Prime Minister and Premier of Victoria regarding the strengthening of measures to contain the COVID-19 virus and that the National Cabinet is now meeting this evening to further discuss these measures," Mr Thompson said.  “We also note there is uncertainty amongst our industry as to what this means for the continuation of racing and training within Victoria and that a wide range of stakeholders are seeking answers on this front. “As it stands, we have a range of meetings planned tomorrow morning to best understand the Federal and State Government directives following the National Cabinet meeting and to consider the appropriate advice from health authorities and our medical experts. “Once we are armed with all of the appropriate information and have had time to discuss it with the relevant authorities, we will then be in a position to consider it with all of our stakeholder representative groups. “It is our intention to provide a comprehensive update when we have greater clarity on the immediate requirements and necessary actions of our industry. Given the unprecedented and evolving nature of this situation, we are not in a position at present to confirm an exact time as to when that update will be provided. “We note that the National Cabinet is meeting this evening to further discuss domestic measures in the battle against the COVID-19 coronavirus,” the statement read. “We’ll be seeking further guidance from Government and our medical experts following tonight’s meeting as to what any new measures, including recommendations around domestic travel, mean for Victorian racing and our stakeholders.” Along with the decision by the Victorian and New South Wales governments to enforce a shutdown of non-essential services, South Australia and Western Australia have announced border closures, while the Federal Government advised all non-essential travel should be cancelled.  The AFL announced on Sunday afternoon the postponement of their season for at least two months following just one round of matches, while the remainder of the AFLW season was cancelled.  Despite the AFL postponing their season, Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’Landys, who is also chief executive of Racing NSW, said the NRL was set to continue unless they forced to cease, given teams don't have to travel to SA and WA.  “I honestly don’t know (if this could change),” V’landys told The Daily Telegraph, “it is moving so fast. “We have said from day one that we will act in accordance with the medical health officers and the biosecurity experts. “If the health authorities allow it we will be still playing. Unless the chief medical officers say otherwise.” Meanwhile, Harness Racing NSW chief executive John Dumesny issued a brief statement to stakeholders and participants.  "HRNSW will comply with all Government requirements in these challenging times, however it will continue to represent the best interests of the Industry," he said.  "As the situation is better known you will be advised accordingly."   By Nick Hluchaniuk Reprinted with permission of The Punters.com.au site

In places like California and New York, where state governments are urging social distancing, horse racing is still happening for fans betting online. The Kentucky Derby, long known for its spot on the sporting calendar on the first Saturday in May, is making a big shift to September. But even the coronavirus pandemic has not stopped horses from racing and gamblers from betting on it across the United States. While the virus has transformed the sporting landscape, leaving fans with virtually nothing to watch or bet on, horse racing has remained an option particularly for gamblers isolated at home. On Wednesday, for example, you could watch and bet on horse races taking place at tracks in Australia, Louisiana and Texas, as well as harness racing in Sweden, Canada and Ohio. On Friday, several major thoroughbred tracks, such as Aqueduct in New York and Santa Anita Park in California, plan to be open for competition and wagering, running full slates with four to 10 horses per race. Fans will be prohibited from the tracks, as they were last weekend. NBC Sports — in need of live broadcasting content — announced Wednesday that it would simulcast “Trackside Live,” the signature program of the horse racing network TVG that jumps around to live races around the sport on Saturday and Sunday. Despite its many, many problems — including an alarming number of horses who suffer fatal injuries and a federal doping investigation that has so far yielded 28 indictments — horse racing remains a multibillion-dollar industry and racetrack operators intend to keep their doors open, if possible. Even as schools and restaurants close and large gatherings are restricted, the races have held on, with the blessing of regulators. Brad Maione, a spokesman for the New York State Gaming Commission, said that it had approved the continued racing at Aqueduct as long as no fans are allowed to attend. He said Aqueduct is an open-air facility, capable of producing racing programs with a small number of workers (fewer than 50, and not in a confined area). Beyond no fans or food, the restrictions are that no visitors, including horse owners, are permitted in the barn areas. New York’s thoroughbred tracks saw $2.1 billion in wagers in 2019. They contributed $15.4 million in tax revenue. “Opening Aqueduct, and racetracks across the country, supports horsemen and their businesses, racetrack employees and the backstretch community,” said David O’Rourke, chief executive of the New York Racing Association, which operates the largest tracks in the state as part of an industry that supports the jobs of some 19,000 people statewide. In California, where races generate more than $16 million in annual tax revenues, racing had also been approved for this weekend, said Mike Marten, a spokesman for the California Horse Racing Board. “All wagering is remote from patrons at home using account wagering platforms,” Marten said. While social distancing has become regular practice in so many parts of American life, many fans have stuck with one of the few live sports still happening, even remotely. More than $17.5 million was bet on races at Aqueduct from Friday through Sunday, according the to association. TVG, which broadcasts races from more than 150 tracks across the world, saw a 75 percent increase in wagering on its betting platform on Saturday and Sunday, compared with the same two days in 2019. The FanDuel Racing app was downloaded more over the weekend than it had been in the previous three months, reaching the No. 6 most-downloaded on Apple’s list of free sports apps, according to TVG. The app was designed for first-time horse-racing bettors in anticipation of the Triple Crown races. “We didn’t think it would take off under these circumstances,” said Kip Levin, the chief executive officer of TVG. “As you can tell, people were looking for a distraction.” The network also told its anchors and commentators to simplify their explanations and insights to make them understandable for novice bettors. Its simulcast arrangement with NBC Sports could nearly double its reach: TVG is in 45 million homes while the NBC Sports Network is in 83 million homes. So far, TVG has a significant number of tracks still running to broadcast. “But that may be changing by the hour,” Levin said. At a time when nearly 600 people live in facilities on the backside of Belmont Park to take care of feeding, grooming and walking horses, New York racing officials said they are simply following the recommendations of state and federal health authorities to not have fans at the track. The horses must be cared for whether there is racing or not. Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby, postponed America’s most famous race until Sept. 5. The Preakness and Belmont Stakes — the other two-thirds of the Triple Crown — have yet to decide if they will follow the Derby into the autumn. “All options are on the table, including running the Belmont on June 6,” said Pat McKenna, a spokesman for the New York Racing Association. The prospect of holding the Derby before a crowd of more than 150,000 prompted Churchill Downs to delay the race for the first time since World War II. “Its energy and its magic really comes from everybody being there to enjoy it,” Bill Carstanjen, the chief executive of Churchill Downs Inc., said during a conference call. “We will roll with the punches but we feel very good that Sept. 5 is the right date.” NBC Sports, which holds the broadcast rights to the Triple Crown, is in talks to hold the three-race series within a window of five weeks in the fall. If that happens, the Preakness would most likely be held Sept. 19 and the Belmont on Oct. 10. Maryland Jockey Club officials acknowledged that they were talking to NBC Sports about a deal to move the Preakness. “It had to be done,” Carstanjen said of the Derby postponement. “We own it and will make it a really special day. We are also excited that NBC is in talks to move the Preakness and Belmont Stakes to September and early October, respectively. We hope the parties can reach a final agreement.” By Joe Drape Reprinted with permission of The New York Times

SCHENECTADY – As they face federal charges for doping racehorses, five thoroughbred trainers and a harness racing owner will continue to be barred from racing in New York, the state Gaming Commission ruled. At a Wednesday morning hearing, gaming officer Michael Hoblock, who was appearing via video-conferencing, decided that the suspension of state racing licenses for trainers Henry Argueta, Christopher Marino, Christopher Oakes, Nicholas Surick, Michael Tannuzzo and horse owner Scott Mangini, will remain in place. Another six who were also indicted on federal charges for conspiring to mislabel and smuggle performance enhancement drugs into their barns, including famed trainers Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis, did not appear. Their hearing with the commission was previously adjourned and will be reconsidered after their criminal cases work their way through the courts. The 12 are among 27 trainers, veterinarians, riders and owners nationwide who had their licenses suspended on March 9 when the indictment was unsealed. At that time, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman alleged they had "designed to secretly and dangerously enhance the racing performance of horses beyond their natural ability, a dishonest practice that places the lives of affected animals at risk.” The only defendant to appear at the hearing was assistant trainer Henry Argueta. He was not accompanied by a lawyer and had some difficulty understanding the proceeding as his English is limited. However, he did understand that his license is temporarily suspended. He is listed in the Servis indictment for misbranding conspiracy and faces up to five years in prison. Servis was allegedly involved in a scheme to obtain an illegally manufactured drug called SGF-1000. The drug is designed to increase a horse's stamina and endurance. According to the indictment, Servis gave the drug to "virtually all" of the horses he trained. The indictment also alleges that the two trainers heavily doped two of their most successful horses, Maximum Security and XY Jet. Maximum Security, trained by Servis, won the 2019 Kentucky Derby before being disqualified for interference. On Feb. 29 of this year, the horse won the world's richest race, the $10 million Saudi Cup. XY Jet, trained by Navarro, won more than $3 million in 26 starts before dying of a heart attack on Jan. 8. Navarro allegedly administered 50 injections of a performance-enhancing drug into XY Jet's mouth, according to the indictment. The indictment is the result of a two-year probe, Berman said. “These defendants engaged in this conduct not for the love of the sport, and certainly not out of concern for the horses, but for money,” Berman said when he unsealed the indictment in March. “And it was the racehorses that paid the price for the defendants’ greed.  The care and respect due to the animals competing, as well as the integrity of racing, are matters of deep concern to the people of this District and to this Office.” If the 12 are convicted, the gaming commission will consider revoking their racing licenses permanently. Alleged doping dozen in New York State Henry A. Argueta, assistant thoroughbred trainer and exercise rider Alexander Chan, veterinarian Rick A. Dane, Jr., harness trainer  Conor J. Flynn, harness groom Scott Mangini, harness owner    Chris W. Marino, harness trainer Jorge I. Navarro, thoroughbred  Christopher W. Oakes, harness trainer  Kristian S. Rhein, veterinarian  Jason Servis, thoroughbred trainer  Nicholas K. Surick, harness trainer   Michael E. Tannuzzo, thoroughbred trainer licensed  The indictment coincides with efforts in Congress to pass the Horseracing Integrity Act, co-sponsored in the House by U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam) and led in the Senate by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), which would hand oversight of administering drugs to racehorses to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the governing body that runs the U.S. Olympic anti-doping efforts. The act would eliminate the current patchwork of state-by-state rules and align the nation's tracks with much of the rest of the world.  New York Racing Association, which manages the Saratoga Race Course as well as Aqueduct Racetrack and Belmont Park, supports the measure. By Wendy Liberatore Reprinted with permission of The Times Union  

Harness racing trainer Richard Banca has become the 28th person identified in the horse doping scandal that yielded indictments against some of the biggest names in Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing. Banca’s name was not among those listed when indictments were announced Monday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. He was arrested Monday and released after posting a $200,000 personal recognizance bond. That another name has surfaced fuels speculation that the investigation launched by the FBI and the Department of Justice will yield more names, perhaps many more. The court documents regarding Banca include a deposition from FBI agent Bruce Turpin, who links Banca to Louis Grasso and Conor Flynn, who were among the 27 indicted Monday. Like the others, Banca is being charged with “misbranding” drugs. Turpin testified that Banca’s property in Middletown, NY was searched Mar. 9 and that the FBI found a number of illegal substances and handwritten notes with instructions on how to administer those drugs. Turpin lays out a scenario where Flynn, Grasso and Banca worked together to illegally administer drugs to horses and says that Flynn was Banca’s assistant. “I have learned that Grasso has, on multiple occasions, supplied Flynn with adulterated and misbranded performance-enhancing drugs for Flynn to administer–or deliver to others to administer–to racehorses,” Turpin testified. In further testimony, Turpin reports: “Based on my discussions with an agent who has spoken with a confidential source, I have learned that Flynn has stated, in substance and in part, that Flynn administers horses owned, trained, or otherwise under Banca’s control, with PEDs at Banca’s direction. In 2011, Banca was sanctioned by the New York Racing and Wagering Board for Oxymetazoline violations and given a 90-day suspension and a $1,000 fine. Banca, 34, has won 1,695 races, including 42 this year. After never having more than 82 winners in a year, his win total shot up to 174 in 2015 and he won 200 races in 2016. The horses he had entered Monday night at Yonkers were scratched. By Bill Finley Reprinted with permission of The Thoroughbred Daily News

This is an open letter to all of our incumbent legislators on both sides of the aisle, including independents. I read an article this morning that indicated that our governor’s new budget might divert monies from the harness racing “industry” to our schools. This money comes from revenues from the slot machines in our casinos. Since 2004 (when this legislation was enacted), we have been hearing from our campaigning legislators that the initial law was to provide money to eliminate the school taxes. Hear this legislators, I still pay school taxes and they continue to go up not down. In fact, some school districts new budgets will be exceeding the state mandated percentage increases. To summarize: let’s give it to the horses and the hell with the schools. Second, our previous governor, Tom Corbett enacted a 29-cent increase in gasoline tax that would be spread over four years. This money would be earmarked for road and bridge repairs throughout Pennsylvania. However, a number of our communities decided that they would do away with their police force and utilize the State Police. To cover this additional cost for patrols, the money was found in the gasoline tax to pay for this State Police coverage. So now we have a growing number of communities on the state dole. As this continues our highways and bridges remain some of the worst in the nation. I must give credit where credit is due. Our legislators had great teachers – the federal legislators. They diverted so much money from the Social Security fund that they now claim its going broke. In both of the items cited above, we, the taxpayers of Pennsylvania, have been lied to continuously. Don’t believe me; just wait until the political campaigns (lies) start this primary season. I have but one question. Are these two scenarios grounds for removal from office? By Emory Guffrovich Reprinted with permission of The Times Leader

On Friday 24 January 2020, Racing and Wagering Western Australia’s (RWWA) Stewards commenced an investigation concerning Race 3, Westral Pace that was scheduled to be run at Gloucester Park that evening. A number of licensed persons were questioned and their mobile phones were examined by the Stewards. Following further investigations, Stewards have now opened an inquiry into an allegation that prior to the race, Trainer/Driver Mr C. Hall made an improper statement(s) to a Trainer with a runner engaged in the race with regard to the tactics and handling of their runner. Mr Hall has been directed to surrender, for the purposes of further inspection and examination, his mobile telephone. Mr Hall has not complied with this direction at this time. Pursuant to Harness Rule of Racing 183, Stewards have also directed that all licenses held by Mr Hall be suspended forthwith pending the outcome of this matter. The inquiry will be conducted on a date to be determined. Any persons who may have information in relation to this matter are encouraged to contact the RWWA Investigators through the following: Investigator:                          Geoff Johnson                     0408 843 560 Investigator:                          Paul Criddle                         0402 020 400 Investigator:                          Freya Norman                      0404 893 063 Betting Investigator:            Trevor Styles                        0437 312 145 Integrity Email:                     racingintegrity@rwwa.com.au Integrity Phone:                    (618) 9445 5565 Acknowledging concerns are paramount and industry sources of information is welcomed. Information and complaints from any person that impacts upon the integrity of thoroughbred, harness or greyhound racing in Western Australia will be accepted in whatever form available including, in person to RWWA Stewards and Investigators, in writing to the address stated above, by telephone to the integrity message service or by email to the racing integrity webmail address provided. This can be reported anonymously if required, with all information treated confidentially and in accordance with best practice. Racing and Wagering Western Australia

On 24 and 25 September 2019, the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board considered charges issued by HRV Stewards against licensed trainer-driver Ellen Tormey and licensed trainer-driver Glenn Douglas under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 193. Ms Tormey was charged with a breach of AHRR 193(7) which states:      A person shall not allow or permit another person to attempt to perform or perform any of the      actions prohibited by sub-rules (1), (2) or (3). Mr Douglas was charged with a breach of AHRR 193(1) which states:      A person shall not attempt to stomach tube or stomach tube a horse nominated for a race or event      within 48 hours of the commencement of the race or event. The charges relate to a stable inspection by HRV Stewards on 1 December 2018 at the registered training establishment of Ellen Tormey where it was alleged that Ms Tormey allowed Mr Douglas to stomach tube or attempt to stomach tube ‘The Boss Man’ which was engaged to compete in Race 4, the ‘TAB Inter Dominion Trotting Championship (1st Round Qualifying Heat 2) (Group 3)’ at Tabcorp Park Melton that night. Decision On 11 December 2019, the HRV RAD Board delivered its decision in finding both Ms Tormey and Mr Douglas guilty of the charges. A summary of the HRV RAD Board decision can be found here. Penalty On 19 December 2019, the HRV RAD Board heard submissions in relation to penalty. After considering those submissions and taking into account the respective offence records; personal references and circumstances; the seriousness of the charges; both specific and general deterrence; and similar cases, the HRV RAD Board determined that the appropriate penalties were: Glenn Douglas – 2 years disqualification Ellen Tormey – 18 months disqualification   Harness Racing Victoria

Just like the Vulcan saying, it looks like Standardbreds tend to live long happy lives after their harness racing days. … In case you’ve read that “the harness horse racers trash their horses after they use them up” type of articles which have been recently going around, here’s a quick roll call after only one afternoon in overwhelming response to a Facebook Wanted Post in the Preserve Harness Racing group. Enjoy! Kirsi Bertolini: Fulla Fire and Kirsti Bertolini “Fulla Fire is now 16 and we have done so much!! He’s been at school exhibition. He’s been at the fair to be petted and fed carrots. He’s been in nursing homes Christmas caroling now 6 times. I ride him at the ocean. We recently joined bunch of quarterhorses for a 10 mile trail ride by Maine trail riders association. He will do anything you throw in front of him without any hesitation. He’s my rockstar! Fulla Fire has his own Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FullaFire/ There’s tons of photos!   Anita Rees: Shag endurance horse ”This is my guy Shag. He’s been doing 50 mile endurance events for 4 years. He’s a homebred who was never on the track, but was used for speed racking for years.” Teddy a Yard Ornament “Teddy’s registered name is Inaugural Affair, in his mid 20’s, a Presidential Ball son. He just goes loose in the yard and gets into things mostly.” Hula Lu – retired endurance horse “Here’s Hula Lu, 13 yr old, retired sound after 320 starts. She made approximately 90K in 8 1/2 years.” Brookview Charger trail horse Anita also has Brookview Charger who had “a rather dismal racing career. He’s 20 now and a fantastic trail horse. He was a speed racking horse for years as well.” Linda Laudeman Taylor: Bad Company Grand champion roadster “BAD COMPANY—-Went on to become Grand Champion Roadster Class winner at PA. National Horse Show in 1984. Lived to 32.” Micheal DI Gati: Birthday Toy – pleasure horse “Birthday Toy!! She’s my Pride and Joy!! My Favorite Toy!  Raced her until she was 6 … and now my Riding Partner!” Brielle Roman: Witch Hazel show jumper “Witch Hazel is a 3yr standardbred filly. Never made it to races, but I got her for $400 and she’s been to Devon and other high ranked horse shows, where she holds her own against warmbloods and the like, that cost more than 20 times what she did!” Pacific Western now a police horse “And here’s Pacific Western on his way to Newark PD for Police horse training!!” Russell Swenton: Russell Swenton & Laagendazz pacing stallion Russell Swenton & Laagendazz pacing stallion “I am an ex race horse trainer. When I got out of the business, I found my broodmares homes, and I still have my stallion, Laagendazz, that I couldn’t find a home for! He was 4 when he couldn’t race anymore. So I have fed and cared for him for the last 20 years knowing he would do nothing but look nice in the field! Most horse owners care deeply about their horses!” Vicki Brenneman: ”We have one now, Winbak Red, who was 13 when he retired, he now is at a farm down the road from our house. We rent the field and go everyday to care for him. Justin calls him our lawn ornament!” Katherine Smith “ I have two retirees; one 20 and the other 17 at home. And we have retired/adopted many ex-racers through New Vocations. All our horses are listed with Full Circle, and can be returned to us any time during their lives, no questions asked. Ending racing will deal a blow to the equine population in the US, and perhaps Canada.” Sally Hinckley: “I have Armbro Brando and Stelerbration, they’re a joy! Stelerbration is 24 and Brando is 18.” Standardbred Retirement Foundation SRF Standardbred as mounted police Standardbred as mounted police horses ”The”Brainiac Breed” is very popular with Mounted Police units! Check this out… SRF Standardbreds adopted to just one unit in NY, Nuke Suave, Dodge Ball, Cheyenne Michael, Justatravelingcam, Mowtown Express, Park City, Victory Glider K and Passerby! Did you know that SRF has 55 Standardbreds adopted to mounted patrol units such as Sheriffs’ Departments in Texas, Philadelphia Police, Morris County Parks, Newark Police, NYC and many more! SO proud of these fuzzy noses! Super temperament-adopt one, get your application in today at AdoptaHorse.org/ “ S Baker & Dana West: Santa & Mrs. Clause visiting the kids with Colonel Barnes “Dana and I bred Colonel Barnes ‘Oscar’ He wasn’t fast enough and he has now found a good home and a new job. A business owner was delivering a prefab shed to us, and he and Dana were talking about our horses. The next thing I know, he said he would give Oscar a home pulling a carriage. No funds were exchanged only ONE STIPULATION: If or when they should not be able to keep him for any reason, he is to come back to us. It was hard to let him go, as we usually keep them till they pass away, but he now has been rehomed for a second job! Cheri Collisen: Cammie – Pet “Cammie, a 20year old. Homes are found or they stay with me.” B’Lynn Powers: Blue an Off the track thoroughbred  The thoroughbred people are doing similarly- “I have a 27 year old OTTB from Charles Town that enjoyed a 2nd career as a hunter jumper, a 3rd as dressage and eventing at VA Intermont college and then at 19 years old, we found him, and he helped my daughter through the loss of her big brother – so 4th career is family – forever.” Greg Trotto: Jacob’s Money a lesson horse “Jacob’s Money retired due to a breathing problem, and at a farm near Vernon. They love him. Trail rides and giving riding lessons!” Susan Greenberg Merryman: Majestic – dressage & aspiring Endurance horse About her aspiring endurance horse- “My boy came from a mutual friend! His owner on the track was Katherine Smith and his trainer was Brooke Nickells! Majestic now 10, by Mach Three with a lifetime mark of 1:51, we adopted him in 2016 when he was coming seven. We trail ride him a lot and are working on dressage.” Shannon Schlotzhauer Stafford: Portrait therapeutic horse “This is Portrait, now 12, a well loved race horse making a difference as a therapy horse. He has such a gentle soul. From the time our son could walk, Portrait let him do anything, he would even hold up his back feet so our son could paint them. When he was no longer competitive, we knew he could make a difference in someone’s life. Now he reaches many people.” Ginger Keeler: Indian Hill Mojoe Trail horse “Here’s Indian Hill Mojoe, born at my place, my husband and I broke and raced him, now he’s my number one trail horse. He’s as tough as they come, an I love him to death.” Leslie Moore: Keystone Alexis therapy horse “Our little Lexi (Keystone Alexis) raced at Ocean Downs and Rosecroft. She went on to Starting Gaits Transition where she was discovered by Agape as a therapy horse. She was recently highlighted and enjoys support from the Indiana harness Racing industry.” Stephanie L Gray: Art by Keane – Stallion And halter champion Art By Keene. Racing, showing and just plain retired. He was 2014 National SPHO In Hand Champion. I had big plans for him, he made other plans. We do have a 2yo colt and 3yo filly he sired. They are not turning out to be much as race horses, however, I love them both dearly. At least they’re pretty. Stallion Art By Keene with owner’s son Caiden Below: “His 3yo filly, Sterling The Pot aka Ena and His 2yo colt, Kickstart My Art aka Junior.” 3yo filly, Sterling The Pot Two-year-old colt My Art Katy Reynolds Bradford: That’s Hall Folks – family horse Here’s That’s Hall Folks, a fifteen year old gelding who raced for nine years. He’s a sweet trail and family horse, with so much personality. I think the best way to describe him is an uncomplicated gentleman, below a shadow shot of this horse riding bareback and bitless! That’s Hall Folks riding bareback and bitless Patricia Clark: East Meets West Endurance Champion East Meets West. We started endurance in 2009. Eli has over 1000 endurance miles and over 500 ld miles. He was the 2011 USTA Endurance Horse of the Year. He has also completed two 75 mile rides.” Jessica Massey: Artdotcam – pleasure and show horse Artdotcam At Aasateague “I adopted Artdotcam (AKA “Bubba”) in the spring of 2012 from his owners. Bubba was a successful harness racer before he was retired from the track and started under saddle. I’m not a “trainer” by any means; I was just a lady who was looking for her first “very own horse”. After many, many hours and miles in the saddle, he has become an awesome trail horse that even my non-horsey husband rides! Bubba even occasionally goes with me to work in the State Forests (I work for the Maryland Forest Service) to do trail work & maintenance. I have posted about our many adventures, including pictures, over the years. I stay connected with his owners and they follow his life and care closely. “ Nena Winand: Winners Only – companion “My love. Winners Only, retired from both racing and breeding  because even when they are no longer breedable they still have a purpose, even if it’s only to be our companions.” Julie Tougas: Wally Dragon – multi talented “This is Wally Dragon. He’s 13 years old and retired from the track when he was 5 years old. I have only recently become his human partner, before me, Wally spent his off track years doing single and double harness, some gymkhana and pleasure riding. This photos is Wally and I, taken at our very first long distance riding event. I am now training Wally to be an endurance horse.” Purple Durple – parade horse “This is Purple Durple. Shes 15 years old. Retired when she was 7 years old. After a short try in the sport of endurance, Purple made it clear that she didn’t want to go fast anymore, so now she is living her life as a steady trail horse . This picture is of Purple and her other human Odile taken during a parade.” Katherine Smith Always Virginia teaches youngsters to groom “Always Virginia now living in Texas and being driven and ridden for fun, and teaching young kids how to groom and care for horses. There are so many more….” “My first two Standardbreds now living their retirement here at home Virginia. One is 21 the other 18. They do no work other than keep us happy.” That’s all for now folks! From endurance riding to the Police force to the show ring, or treasured companions, Standardbreds are quite talented and versatile. In addition, it looks like the harness horsemen have a great passion and respect for the star of the show, the Standardbred horse. Check out more at the USTrotting Association’s Life After Racing page.

The Commerce Commission has filed proceedings against horse transporters the International Racecourse Transport New Zealand Partnership (IRT), claiming price-fixing. The commission alleges that an agreement between IRT NZ and a competitor to set retail prices amounted to cartel conduct in breach of the Commerce Act. The allegations involve fixing prices, controlling and maintaining retail prices that are quoted and charged, and the size of discounts given for airfreight services. Read the full story here at Stuff   by Bonnie Flaws Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Corporate bookmaking firm Ladbrokes is to sponsor Tasmanian racing for at least the next three years. The lucrative package will include naming rights for the three major tracks and three major cups. From Thursday, the tracks will be re-branded Ladbrokes Racing Centre Mowbray, Ladbrokes Park Elwick and Ladbrokes All Weather Spreyton. All thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing clubs will be part of the new agreement. Tasracing chief executive Paul Eriksson said Tasracing and the clubs were excited about the new partnership. "Sponsorship revenue and the level of marketing support offered to clubs across all codes is set to increase significantly under this deal," he said. "The partnership also allows Tasracing to continue to broaden its promotion of Tasmanian racing to the national market thanks to Ladbrokes' extensive customer-base and marketing investment." Ladbrokes Australia CEO Jason Scott said Ladbrokes had developed a proud legacy of supporting the Australian racing industry and its participants. "The chance to partner with greyhounds, harness and thoroughbreds ... in the progressive Tasmanian market was simply too good to refuse," he said. "Like Ladbrokes, Tasracing and its clubs have displayed a desire to think outside the square and to innovate and we look forward to partnering with them on their quest for growth." The landmark deal further delivers on the Hodgman Majority Liberal Government’s commitment to ensure Tasmania’s racing industry continues to grow, with the economic benefits reaching far outside the track course. Tasmania’s racing industry injects around $103 million a year into the State’s economy and supports jobs in rural and regional areas, with over 5,000 Tasmanians either employed or participating in the industry. By Greg Mansfield Reprinted with permission of The Examiner

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