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The former chairman of Harness Racing New Zealand and members of a prominent horse racing family, Patrick O’Brien, along with his son, Michael, Nelson’s Paul Max and a former gaming inspector who could not be named, have all been issues summons on charges of fraud in one of the country’s largest gambling sector investigations. Called “Operation Chestnut ” the investigation was started back in June of 2012 according to the Serious Fraud Office, Department of Affairs and the police. The investigation alleges that more than $30 million in gaming grants were made by the New Zealand Community Trust, Infinity and Bluegrass Trusts, dating all the way back to 2006. Scheduled to appear in court in February, the four men could face at least 20 charges of obtaining by deception, which could carry up to seven years in jail. "If you don't think you've done anything wrong, it's a bloody shock to get a summons, said Patrick O’Brien. “I'll be defending the charges." Paul Max also said he would defend the charges against him. "It's before the courts so on that basis it's completely inappropriate for me to make any comment." Michael O'Brien said he had been instructed not to comment by his lawyers, but said the charges would be "vigorously defended". The trusts had its gaming license taken away earlier this year after the Gambling Commission found that it provided false and misleading information to Internal Affairs. Harnesslink media

The Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) today launched an anonymous 0800 number for the racing industry to report integrity concerns. Based on the NZ Police Crimestoppers 0800 number, the 0800 RIU 123 Integrity line will gather information volunteered anonymously from industry participants, employees, punters and anyone with an interest in racing a proactive way to pass on information with guaranteed anonymity. The service will be run through the Crimestoppers operation. All calls are received by trained call takers. They record the information offered and the intelligence provided is then forwarded on to the RIU for investigation. As a new service based on anonymity the integrity line will add to the Racing Integrity Unit’s intelligence gathering. “The guarantee of absolute anonymity provides a way for people to feel safe about passing on what they know, so we are likely to receive information we haven’t had before and from people who in other circumstances would not normally come forward” says Neil Grimstone, Manager of Integrity Assurance for the Racing Integrity Unit. “There is no visibility or record of the phone number the call is being made from, so it cannot be traced back, however the caller is given the opportunity to leave contact details if they wish to be contacted further about the concerns they raise.” For any further information regarding the implementation of the 0800 RIU 123 Integrity line please email admin@riu.org.nz or call Neil Grimstone on 021 272 6009

Victoria Police and the Victorian Racing Integrity Commissioner have agreed to a milestone partnership to help stamp out crime and consolidate racing’s integrity…including harness racing. The Memorandum of Understanding between the two bodies will allow the exchange of information between parties. The partnership underlines efforts to ensure the integrity of Victoria’s $2.8billion racing industry, which employs nearly 58,000 people across the three codes. “This agreement will be of benefit to both Victoria Police and the racing industry and help inform investigations by both parties,” Mr Perna said.  “The MOU not only helps both agencies gather relevant information, but leads to increasing public confidence in racing.” The agreement builds on the RIC’s agreement in 2013 with the Australian Crime Commission. Both agreements follow a recommendation made in the RIC’s 2012 Own Motion Inquiry into Race Fixing to identify the barriers to information sharing between police and racing bodies. Under the agreement, there will remain some constraints on types of information that police are able to share, including telecommunication interception information. The agreement also builds on other Victoria Police initiatives such as the creation of the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit in February 2013 and the entering of an interim information sharing agreement with the RIC in June 2013. Mr Perna said the two MOU’s emphasise an increased focus on sports integrity which demonstrate Victoria’s commitment to protecting its sporting industry. “Together with an increased focus on sports integrity and the creation of recent legislation addressing corrupt conduct in sport (The Crimes Amendment (Integrity in Sports) Act 2013), Victoria is well placed to protect its sporting industry.” Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is uniformly recognized as the premier criminal detection and enforcement agency in the United States. Whether exclusively, or as part of a team or task force, the FBI is involved in investigating and/or uncovering virtually all major crimes in this country. The DEA, ATF, IRS, SEC, USPS and scores of other federal agencies constantly utilize the FBI’s matchless investigatory expertise. Moreover, given the expansive interpretation by the judiciary of what constitutes interstate commerce, as well as the congressional promulgation of statutes like the Federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the FBI is regularly drawn into seemingly neighborhood-based events, the investigation of which would otherwise be limited to state authorities. For example, though the recent incident in Ferguson, Missouri involved a local police shooting, and the 2011 Amish “beard-cutting” affair was restricted to rural Ohio, the FBI was nonetheless there to do their job at each venue. How does the FBI maintain its superlative level of effectiveness? One of the Bureau’s important, though less heralded functions, involves the collection, compilation and categorization of crime data from hundreds of sources throughout the country through the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). For decades, the Bureau’s Uniform Crime Report Program has been a tremendous resource for sociologists, profilers, investigators and government agencies. One of program’s annual publications, “Crime in the United States” is a virtual almanac of statistical information regarding the most serious offenses perpetrated, including murder, rape, robbery and arson. The numerous tables and graphs break down the offenses by such things as geographic region and demographics as to the perpetrators. The Uniform Crime Reports are essential in assisting agencies nationwide to properly allocate resources in order to maximize the prevention and enforcement of offenses. It is for this reason that a recent decision by the Bureau is so important to our industry. In September, the FBI officially announced that, for the first time, it will report animal cruelty crimes as a separate offense under the agency’s Uniform Crime Report Program. Starting in 2015, hundreds of law enforcement agencies throughout the country will report incidents of animal cruelty in a specific category, rather than as miscellaneous crimes, through the (NIBRS). The Bureau has established four distinct types of animal abuse that it will statistically track: a) simple or gross neglect, such as failing to properly care for a sick animal; b) intentional abuse and torture; c) organized abuse, such as participation in dog fighting rings, and; d) animal sexual abuse (bestiality, etc.), It stands to reason that animal cruelty is a dreadfully underreported crime. Like infants, dogs, cats and horses lack the ability to contact the authorities when they are the victim of abuse. It is only through the observation of caring humans that the abuse is brought to the forefront. With the advent of separate reporting by unique categories, the severity of these criminal acts will be exhibited in an enhanced way. This enhancement is critically important when the victim is a horse. In states like New York, horses are considered to be livestock. While abusing a companion animal like a dog or cat is a felony punishable by years in state prison, abusing a horse is a mere misdemeanor punishable by no more than one year in jail. Moreover, horse abuse rarely results in a sentence of jail time. The highlighted recording of acts of abuse against animals will hopefully serve as a springboard in state legislatures for the passing of stricter penalties for criminal acts against all animals, including horses. As the numbers and types of abuse begin to roll in to the FBI, subsequent Uniform Crime Report Program publications will highlight animal cruelty and its severity throughout the country. It is anticipated that the long term result of this tracking will be the creation of, and increased public funding for, specialized law enforcement units charged with combating abuse to animals, as well as more private funding for organizations such as the ASPCA. Animal abuse is especially important to law enforcement because it is generally recognized as a precursor to human abuse. Sadistic serial killers almost always start with the torture of animals. As a child, the notorious Jeffrey Dahmer was fascinated with dissection of dogs and cats so he could see and feel their organs. As he grew older, the fascination became a compulsion, and humans became the target of his depravity. Social scientists have written extensively about the link. For example, the abuse of animals is part of the “Mcdonald Triad.” Named in the 1960s for the psychiatrist that developed the theory, childhood animal cruelty and arson are considered markers for homicidal and predatory behavior in later life. Frustration and anger at repeated instances of humiliation are vented via setting fires and torturing small living creatures. The sociopathic behavior carries into adulthood, with the manifestations taking on literally larger risks and consequences. Clearly, early identification of an adolescent horse abuser could have incalculable, far reaching benefits for society. If just one instance of horse abuse can be prevented, or one budding serial killer can be identified and properly treated, the FBI’s decision should be considered a huge success. Chris E. Wittstruck Chris E. Wittstruck is an attorney, a director of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and a charter member of the Albany Law School Racing and Gaming Law Network.  

ABBOTT WAS DEPORTED FROM THE USA IN 2003

SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York (April 28, 2014) - The first responders of the March 28th barn fire at Saratoga Casino and Raceway were honored during yesterday's race card. The ceremony recognized the heroism of the casino employees as well as local police and fire departments that arrived first on the scene and saved the lives of 30 horses. On March 28th around 6am, Mark Harrington, Security Manager at Saratoga Casino and Raceway smelled smoke coming from somewhere in the backstretch of the property. He was approached by Earl Bean, a trainer at the harness track, who alerted Harrington to a fire that had started in barn number 15. Harrington, along with groom Mickey Block, began to evacuate the horses that were still inside the burning barn. The Saratoga Police and Fire Departments were alerted as soon as security at the casino detected the fire, and arrived within minutes. They immediately began assisting with rescuing the remaining horses still trapped in the barn. A total of 30 horses were successfully saved and unharmed as a result of their rapid response. The fire was completely extinguished by 6:30AM. Saratoga Springs Fire Department Captain, Tom Knight and his squad were the first to arrive on the scene. "When we entered the barn the smoke was extremely black and very thick," said Knight. "We crawled along the ground and actually crawled into barns to feel around for horses. The horsemen and firemen worked very well together to get halters on the horses and get them out of harm's way. We got really lucky." "This could have been a lot worse had it not been for the heroic efforts of the first responders," said Jamie Hartman, General Manager of Saratoga Casino and Raceway. "We truly cannot thank them enough for their incredible act of bravery." The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental and was believed to be started by an oat cooker that was left on inside the barn. Inspections of the structures located at the facility are conducted regularly by local fire officials, most recently in May 2013. Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen was on hand Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino and Raceway to present a plaque honoring the heroic efforts of horsemen and members of the Saratoga Springs Fire Department. Saratoga Casino and Raceway's backstretch includes 34 horse barns with 1,040 stalls. There are currently 600 horses housed at the facility. All horses that were displaced by the fire have been relocated to another stall on the property. From Saratoga Raceway

The rules of harness racing are dictated by the state where the racing activity occurs. All racing ovals are situated within the boundaries of a certain state. By virtue of inherent police power to protect the health, safety and morals of its citizens, each sovereign state independently determines how our sport is conducted. On this score, consider that medication regulations are solely within the purview of the individual state governments. When regulations are deemed to be "uniform," that identity happens only because each of the participating states adopt mirror image rules. Even if they appear to be the same or substantially similar from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the rules are, in fact, unique to each state. Licensing is a function of the state as well and, as everyone in our industry is aware, being licensed in one state in no way guarantees that a license will issue in others.  Federal law was created by the states. The promulgation of the U.S. Constitution was accomplished only because the independent colonies agreed to abdicate a very limited amount of their respective powers to a federal government for the greater good of all. As powerful as the federal government may at times seem, it can only act if a constitutional provision allows it to do so. In the racing realm, the sparse instances of federal regulation occur based upon the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. That provision reserves solely to Congress the regulation of commerce across state lines. It makes perfect sense. Imagine if each state developed their own regulations for the size and shape of mud guards on the rear of tractor trailers. Truck drivers would be required to carry scores of different flaps, and to stop and change the flaps at the border of each state. In fact, 55 years ago the U.S. Supreme Court struck down just such state regulations as unconstitutional burdens on interstate commerce. Thus, the Interstate Commerce Clause permits the federal government to regulate things such as interstate simulcasting and the transportation of horses across state lines. So, what about a state law or regulation that prohibits the interstate movement of racehorses for periods of time? Can such rules pass constitutional muster, or should they be struck down as being in conflict with the Interstate Commerce Clause as unnecessarily impeding the free flow of business among the states? These questions are not hypothetical. Several states have regulations geared towards ensuring that there are always enough horses to fill race cards at meets. Both the Pennsylvania Code and New York regulations dictate that a harness horse may not race at a track other than the track where claimed for 30 days or the balance of the current racing meeting, whichever comes first, unless released by the racing secretary. In Maryland, the rules bar a claimed harness horse from racing outside the state for 60 days if the claim was at Rosecroft, or for 30 days if the claim was at Ocean Downs, unless the respective meet ends sooner. Delaware regulations contain a blanket 60 day prohibition on racing a claimed horse out of the state without approval of the track where the horse was claimed. May a state prohibit an owner from immediately racing a claimed horse in another state? That was exactly the question decided by the Kentucky Court of Appeals last month. The case, Jamgotchian v. Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, was brought by a Thoroughbred owner who claimed a horse at Churchill Downs in Kentucky in May of 2011. Under Kentucky Thoroughbred rules, the horse was not permitted to race outside the state until the Churchill meet ended on July 4, 2011. In June, the owner entered the horse at Penn National Race Course in Pennsylvania. The racing secretary, in consultation with Churchill officials, rejected the entry based upon the Kentucky regulation. The owner claimed that the Kentucky prohibition violated the Federal Interstate Commerce Clause. In its ruling, the court stated that the test to be employed was whether, a) the challenged law is protectionist in measure, or; b) whether it can fairly be viewed as a law directed to legitimate local concerns, with effects upon interstate commerce that are only incidental. In other words, the court initially indicated that not every state regulation affecting interstate commerce is unconstitutional. In applying the test to the regulation in question, the court first reasoned that the general regulation of horse racing is both a traditional and legitimate state function, and is thus a valid exercise of Kentucky’s police power. In its analysis, the court pointed out that out of the thirty-eight states that permit wagering on horse racing, twenty-seven states have a claiming law similar to Kentucky's regulation. In sum, state regulation of claiming is pervasive across the United States. As to whether the regulation is protectionist or discriminatory, the court pointed out that the regulation applied evenly to both in-state and out-of-state licensees. Also, it determined that the effect on interstate commerce is incidental, inasmuch as the prohibition was strictly limited to horses acquired in the claiming realm. The court reasoned that the aggrieved owner could have purchased a horse privately or at an auction sale, and could have freely and immediately raced that purchase elsewhere. Finally, the court concluded that the regulation was limited in duration and scope, inasmuch as it banned transport out of state for racing for only the duration of the meet, which at the outside was just three months. To read the full text of the case, click here: http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=505383974654814112&q=jamgotchian&hl=en&as_sdt=6,33&as_ylo=2014 While Kentucky upheld the regulation, it is unclear whether a federal court would agree with the reasoning of the Court of Appeals. That just might be Mr. Jamgotchian’s next move. By Chris E. Wittstruck, who is an attorney, a director of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and a charter member of the Albany Law School Racing and Gaming Law Network.

A former bookkeeper has been charged with embezzlement of $111,943 from the racetrack companies that offered betting on harness racing at the Warren County Fairgrounds in Ohio. Susan L. Wilson, 48, of Lebanon, was indicted on two counts of grand theft and two counts of unauthorized use of property, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office. Wilson is accused of embezzling the money by writing 119 earning checks paid to winners and cashing them, in some cases by forging her husband’s signature, County Prosecutor David Fornshell said. Wilson is accused of embezzling the funds from October 2010 to December 2012, while working for the Lebanon Trotting Club and Miami Valley Trotting Club, according to the indictment. The two companies offered betting on live harness races and simulcasts of other horse races before the move to the Miami Valley Gaming complex south of Lebanon in December. Wilson was identified as the general manager of Lebanon Trotting in a 2012 story on the sale. The theft was discovered in mid-2013 during accounting done in anticipation of the sale of the businesses to Miami Valley Gaming, Fornshell said. Lebanon police presented the case to the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office earlier this year, Fornshell said. by Lawrence Budd, reprinted with permission by www.daytondailynews.com

Sydney junior driver Alex Alchin was happy to be back in New South Wales this week after being forced to evacuate horses from the property of Victorian trainer Adam Kelly because of the damaging bushfires near Melbourne over the weekend. Alchin works for Belinda McCarthy and was assisting in Victoria with her runners that had raced at Melton on Saturday night. "Darryl Crapper and I went and checked on the horses on Sunday morning at Adam Kelly's property before returning to the place where we were staying about half an hour away," Alchin said. "We got a call at about 2:30pm in the afternoon to say the police had advised people to evacuate at Adam's property so we rushed back to the property and got the horses out." After arriving at Kelly's property Alchin was not too concerned with the situation. "When we got there to be honest I didn't think it looked too bad, we could see the flames but it looked like it was a very long way away and I thought we would be fine but then the wind changed and within five minutes the fire was just about at the front gate." "Once the wind had changed it was too late to go so we just moved all the horses away from the flames and moved the cars and explosive items like gas bottles as far away from the heat as we could and hoped for the best." Another wind change proved very helpful and saved any potential losses. "The wind shifted again and it helped a lot but without the help of the helicopters dropping water on the fire it could have been a different story, the helicopters were sucking water out of the dams on Adam's place and dropping it straight onto the fire." "It all happened very quickly, I think the fire got to Adam's place by about 4:30pm and we were all very lucky I think." Alchin returned to Sydney on Monday and is looking forward to the upcoming Inter Dominion carnival. Harness Racing New South Wales             Nancy O'Grady | Executive Assistant | Harness Racing New South Wales |   22 Meredith Street Bankstown NSW 2200   T: 02 9722 6600| F: 02 85805792 | E: nogrady@hrnsw.com.au| W: www.hrnsw.com.au & www.trotstv.com.au       Warning to recipients:   This email and any attachments are confidential and subject to copyright. If you are not the intended recipient any use, disclosure or copying is unauthorised. If you have received this email in error please advise us immediately by reply email and delete all copies. It is your responsibility to examine this email and any attachments for viruses. Any personal information in this email must be handled in accordance with privacy legislation.            

This Sunday, the 2014 Super Bowl security detail will include horses that found their new careers through the Standardbred Retirement Foundation. The Newark Mounted Police Department has nine of SRF’s horses, and the force is in the saddle protecting the public. Coincidentally, many of these horses have been around the oval at the adjacent Meadowlands Racetrack during their racing careers. The photo accompanying this story features Officer Camacho riding 11-year-old Allentown (aka ‘Chief’) and Officer Schroeder with 16-year-old Cunning Liar (aka ‘Commander’) pictured in the middle. At pre-game events and on game-day, additional Newark Mounted Patrol SRF horses may include, 18-year-old Blue Hoodlum, eight-year-old Shark Chaser, five-year-old Uthinkithinkurkidn, 11-year-old Prince Juniper, seven-year-old Echo of Thunder, 15-year-old Miracle Man, and 11-year-old YF Avenger. They serve many notable events throughout the city like the Super Bowl. The SRF is in its 25th year giving dignity and life to racehorses in need of a stable future. Nearly 2,600 adoptions have been made to loving homes for pleasure, and competitive riding, and driving disciplines. Every horse adopted out by SRF is followed-up for life. One hundred and ninety horses are currently in the SRF’s care, of which 110 are unadoptable and will remain in SRF’s full-care for life. To adopt, help by making a tax-deductible contribution, or to sponsor a horse in need, contact SRF at admin@srfmail.com, 732-446-4422, or visit this award-winning organization at adoptahorse.org and be sure to ‘like us’ on Facebook. From the Standardbred Retirement Foundation

Life had "turned to muck" for a retired dairy farmer who became the financier for a major methamphetamine ring, a judge was told before he jailed the man for three years and 10 months. John Douglas McKenzie, 65, of Ohoka in rural North Canterbury, expected a very handsome return for the $180,000 he "invested" in the Christchurch meth conspiracy that the police busted with their Operation Granite investigation. He would have got a return of $144,000 when the investment fell due. Instead he has forfeited $180,000 cash to the Crown, and he was jailed at his sentencing by Justice Christian Whata in the High Court at Christchurch today, more than a year after the trial. Defence counsel Jonathan Eaton, QC, said the offending had arisen from naivety coupled with greed, but it was unfair for the judge to see a financier as equally culpable as the principal drug offenders. "When the case began three-and-a-half years ago he would have envisaged quietly living out his life on the farm, and everything's been turned to muck," he said. McKenzie continues to deny his guilt, despite the jury finding him guilty on a charge of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. "He never intended nor understood that he was getting involved in the level of operation that has ultimately been proved to be the case," Eaton said. He pointed out that McKenzie had drawn up a written loan agreement with the drug-ring kingpin, 32-year-old Matthew Allen Newton, and had the document witnessed. The agreement was found by police in a search of his property along with a note from Newton about part repayment. Crown prosecutor Barnaby Hawes said that the terminology of the note, the size of the loan, and the expected 80 per cent return on his finance indicated McKenzie was aware of the scale of the enterprise. Justice Whata said he regarded McKenzie's involvement as "opportunistic and motivated by greed". He had expected a very significant return on his investment. "The jury found that there was a proper basis for finding that you knew Newton was involved in the commercial-level manufacture of methamphetamine and that you knew that your loan would assist him in that enterprise," he said. But he was not satisfied that McKenzie was aware the scale of the operation, or that the investment return would be derived solely from the operation. Newton had been the CEO of a complex enterprise and he had skilfully isolated members from each other "so that no other member had a complete picture of its scale". He told McKenzie that without financiers, methamphetamine production could not occur. Justice Whata reduced McKenzie's jail sentence because of his unblemished record, his contribution to the community, his emotional condition, and his age which would cause him difficulties in serving a prison term. McKenzie was described as a retired dairy farmer who had a passion for horse and harness racing, and had contributed to the local community and school. He has no previous convictions. He is the last of the Operation Granite meth conspirators to be sentenced, after his sentencing was delayed by a series of appeals. The longest jail term for the conspirators was the nine years and seven months imposed on Newton. Courtesy of the Christchurch Press

Two allegedly corrupt racing stewards used prepaid mobile phones, registered under fictitious names, to discuss the fixing of races, a court has heard. Police linked five non-work mobiles to steward Matthew Bentley and one to his colleague Paul O'Toole. They also intercepted calls between the star harness driver Greg Bennett and other people in the racing industry. Mr Bennett has pleaded not guilty to six counts of giving or offering a bribe to Mr Bentley. His trial, in the Sydney District Court, heard on Thursday that Mr Bentley used his succession of secret mobiles between January 1, 2010, and August 8, 2011 - the day Harness Racing NSW confronted Mr O'Toole and Mr Bentley about race-fixing and terminated their employment. To read the full article written by Rick Feneley from The Sydney Morning Herald click on this link  

The following story was written by Liz Clarke and reprinted with permission by www.washingtonpost.com.  The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, whose testing and tenacity has exposed such high-profile drug-cheating athletes as Marion Jones, Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong, is poised to enter the horse racing arena. That’s the intent of legislation that would put USADA in charge of setting and enforcing anti-doping standards in the $10 billion-a-year U.S. horse racing industry, which has been sullied by deaths and breakdowns on the track and skepticism at betting windows that are its lifeblood. Thursday in Washington, USADA CEO Travis Tygart will testify in support of the initiative at a Congressional hearing on the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, which was introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Reps. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and Joe Pitts (R-Pa.). Tygart is expected to tell the panel that an independent agency is essential to restoring faith and fair play in the sport and that USADA is well positioned for the task. “If they want to ensure a level playing field, they should have an independent model with uniform rules that are fully enforced — particularly in a sport where the gaming side of it is so important,” Tygart said in a telephone interview. “It’s inherently unfair to the competition for one athlete to gain an unfair advantage, but in an industry that is so heavily based on the calculation of the odds, it’s more important to ensure that competitions aren’t rigged.” According to information cited by Udall when the draft legislation was introduced, more than $10.8 billion was wagered on American horse racing last year and $133 million on the Kentucky Derby alone. As it is, what drug testing exists in U.S. horse racing is carried out under a patchwork of policies and procedures that vary wildly from one state to another. With no uniformity on what performance-boosting practices and substances are permissible, and in what amounts, a trainer may be suspended for triggering too many positive tests in one state, yet welcomed by tracks in another state. Tygart likened it to the Olympic competitions of the 1990s, before the World Anti-Doping Agency was established in 1999 and ultimately extracted commitments from governments worldwide to adhere to a single standard. “Different countries tested for different substances with different testing methods,” Tygart said of the pre-WADA era. “They didn’t have collection policies; there was no uniform practice. It created a perception that was bad for sport. Everyone who was around at that time will acknowledge that the Olympic rings were tarnished. And that was bad for business.” Similar thinking is driving the horse racing legislation, which would also ban race-day medication of horses and require stiff penalties for cheating, including lifetime bans for serial violators. “Horses are dying, and jockeys are being maimed because of out-of-control abuse of legal and illegal drugs in horse racing,” Pitts said through a spokesman. “The U.S. is the only developed nation where doping in the sport is routinely ignored. After decades of promises to clean up the sport, it’s time to bring in a neutral observer. USADA is known for its integrity in governing U.S. Olympic athletes and cycling. I believe they would do an excellent job.” A non-profit corporation based in Colorado Springs, USADA began operations in Oct. 2000 with the mission of eliminating drug-use in sports and protecting athletes’ health through research and education. Its funding comes primarily from the U.S. government and U.S. Olympic Committee, with the government covering about 60 percent of costs. Tygart said that if USADA takes on responsibility for horse racing, it would not draw any additional revenue required from the sport itself. “You can’t both police your sport and promote it,” Tygart said. “When you promote it, you want more revenue and are not concerned as much about the integrity of the competition. You avoid scandal. The independent model takes it out of that analysis; it isn’t as concerned about the economic, revenue growth or sponsorship. It takes away that inherent conflict of interest.”

A massive fire has destroyed several buildings at Solvalla trainer Timo Nurmos stables at Fituna last night. Luckily it appears that no people or horses were injured in the blaze which destroyed three stables and a corn silo, several Swedish news sources are reporting. Swedish harnessracing website TravNet reported that the fire alarm went off at 6pm on Wednesday evening . A dozen fire trucks rushed to Nurmos’ training facility at Fituna Farm outside Nynashamn, to the south of Stockholm. Sodertorn fire chief Per Delhage, said on Swedish TV that the fire was under control. Swedish police reported that no people were injured and that all the horses that were inside the burning building were evacuated and were unharmed. Horses in adjacent stables were also evacuated. Top Swedish racing paper TravRonden quoted neighbour Patrik Oscarsson as saying that it was inconceivable that the fierce blaze did not spread to other stables which were just metres away. He said it was too early to tell if any were damaged and that the district veterinarian was on the site inspecting horses. Neighbours helped capture and pen loose horses and traffic around Fituna was diverted. TravNet reports that what caused the fire was unclear and that other news sources claimed the fire may have started in a workshop building. Finnish national Nurmos trains 148 horses and currently leads Solvalla’s trainer’s championship. The hunt is already on for new stables for the trainer. Dave Sanders

ANDERSON, Ind.—September 26, 2013—Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will host two big nights of racing, family activities, and free fireworks, all for charity on Friday, Sept. 27 and Saturday, Sept. 28. The All-Star Standardbred drivers will be the stars of the show as they go head to head in two pari-mutuel races for their chance to win $5,000 for their respective charities. Racing fans will have the opportunity to visit Club Centaur and select the All-Star driver of their choice to receive an entry to place intro your favorite All-Star Standardbred Driver’s charity box. At the end of each charity race, the names of three lucky winners will be selected from the race winner’s charity box to win up to $250 in free race wagers. Fans will also have the opportunity to donate $5 to a charity of choice and receive $5 in free slot play. In addition to the $5,000 in total purse money offered, if the same driver finds themselves in the Winner’s Circle for both celebrity races a total of $10,000 will be donated to the driver’s charity compliments of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. The charities and drivers this season are as follows: Outfitter’s, Inc.                                                           Joe Putnam Indiana School for the Deaf                                      Ricky Macomber American Cancer Society                                           Jason Dillander Shriner’s Hospital for Children                                   Mike Peterson St. John’s Children Clinic                                           Trent Stohler Second Harvest Food Bank                                        Brandon Bates Indiana Coalition against Domestic Violence            Brooke Nickells Alternatives, Inc.                                                        Ed Hensley New Vocations Racehorse Adoption                         Tyler Smith Anderson Police Department                                      Trace Tetrick St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital                       Peter Wrenn Animal Protection League                                          Andy Shelter Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will follow a Tuesday – Saturday schedule with a daily post time of 5:30 p.m. The 160-day, all harness-racing meet began on April 2 and will continue through November 9. Emily Gaskin

TASMANIA’S harness racing industry is in mourning following the tragic death of popular trainer-driver David Medhurst. The 26-year-old was killed as a result of a head-on car accident on Boyer Road New Norfolk on Wednesday night. Early police investigations revealed a car travelling on the opposite direction to Medhurst's vehicle crossed into the lane in which Medhurst's car was travelling. His fiancé was a passenger and she remains in the Royal Hobart Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. A 27-year-old man that was driving the other vehicle also is in intensive care while passengers in his car sustained only minor injuries. Medhurst was born into a harness racing family and following a short stint interstate after he left St Virgil’s College he set about gaining work experience in the industry that eventually led to him to taking out an owner-trainer licence. Medhurst’s first winner was Doctor Casey at Burnie in April 2007 and he then purchased Loaded To Run for $500 and that horse won multiple races to kick start his training career. He graduated to a full trainer’s licence in 2008 and continued to hone his skills both in the sulky and with training methods that promised to earn him a successful career in the industry. In 2009 Medhurst represented Tasmania in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship. David will be sadly missed by everyone in the industry and it is an absolute tragedy that someone with so much talent should lose his life at such a tender age. Peter Staples  

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