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Harrisburg, PA — The United States Trotting Association has reported that the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission, as it did last year, has unanimously adopted a resolution opposing a plan by Gov. Tom Wolf to shift $199 million from the Race Horse Development Fund Trust and use the funds for a higher-education scholarship program. The PHRC took the action at its Feb. 23 meeting. The resolution will be printed and sent to the governor’s office. Budget hearings for fiscal 2021-22 are underway in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The Senate Appropriations Committee on April 8 is scheduled to hold the budget hearing for the state Department of Agriculture, which oversees horse racing and breeding in the state. The motion on the resolution was made by PHRC member Tom Ellis, who said the governor’s proposal would have a “negative and disastrous impact” on the horse racing industry, agriculture and economic development. He said he understands the need to address student debt but “robbing Peter to pay Paul” isn’t the answer. Fellow commissioner Sal DeBunda agreed and said the PHRC has an obligation to promote and regulate the industry. The resolution was supported during the “industry reports” part of the meeting by Sam Beegle, president of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association; Kim Hankins, executive director of the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association; and Mike Simpson, an executive at Hanover Shoe Farms and treasurer of the Standardbred Breeders Association of Pennsylvania. The PHHA, MSOA, and SBA of PA are members of the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition along with Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Pennsylvania Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association. The groups market racing and breeding and also lobby to protect the industry’s interests. In other news at the meeting, it was announced that over the first four days of the “Game of Claims” series at Mohegan Sun Pocono, there were 97 claims valued at roughly $1.6 million in total. by Tom LaMarra, for the USTA

CHESTER, PA -- Officials at Harrah's Philadelphia have announced that the current harness racing meet will be extended through Dec. 31, 2020. The Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission has approved an additional four racing programs to be contested at Harrah's Philadelphia following the originally scheduled closing day of Dec. 20. The additional dates are: Wednesday, Dec. 23 (12:25 p.m. first post) Thursday, Dec. 24 (12 noon first post) Sunday, Dec. 27 (12:40 p.m. first post) Thursday, Dec. 31 (6:50 p.m. first post) "We're pleased to be able to work with the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association on adding these additional days," said Barry Brown, director of racing operations at Harrah's Philadelphia. "After the loss of the days early in the season due to COVID-19, this gives our horsemen some additional opportunities to race before the end of the year." For complete information, visit the Harrah's Philadelphia website ( by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia

WASHINGTON, PA, May 15, 2020 -- After 11 days of silence, PA Gov. Tom Wolf responded to the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission (PHRC) on when it could resume harness racing in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately for horsemen, his response was not what we wanted to hear: "As part of this reopening effort, we foresee horse racing reopening when counties enter the green phase, like other entertainment (casinos, theaters, etc). I commend the Commission's efforts to implement mitigation efforts for those who are continuing to care for the horses at this time, and forethought in planning for how to address public health and safety as it relates to each phase of reopening." To read Gov. Wolf's full letter to the PHRC, visit The Meadows Stadardbred Owners Association (MSOA) has responded to Gov. Wolf with the open letter below: Dear Gov. Wolf: In your letter to PHRC, you lump racing with other large venues, such as casinos and theaters. The reality is that horse racing occurs outdoors and can easily follow CDC guidelines; because our trainer/drivers and caretakers must exercise, feed and care for their horses every day, we're already on the backside, and we're already following CDC safety guidelines. And those guidelines are working. We've had no COVID-19 positives -- not a single one -- in our paddock and backside areas. Moreover, unlike other sports, horse racing can be conducted without spectators. Fans can watch the races and wager from a variety of platforms, including phone and computer. Since racing at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino was shut down on March 16, horsemen and horsewomen have been without income. Yet because horses continue to need food, bedding, exercise and veterinary care, expenses have continued. While other small businesses can cut costs and furlough staff, racing stables cannot do the same. Costs for upkeep of a single Standardbred can reach $2,500 per month -- and there has been no income to offset this. Many of us have applied for unemployment compensation and government loans; some have yet to hear back or receive any funding to help us through this unprecedented time. Consider the plight of D&G Stables, operated by Dean and Glenda Collins at the Meadows. Of the nine horses in its stable, D&G owns seven outright, meaning there are no outside owners to help them meet their significant monthly bills. Right now, this situation is altogether typical. Norm Parker, who trains 30 horses at the Meadows, puts it this way: "If we have a reopening date we could shoot for. our horses will be ready to race and start making money again. We are hoping to reach the 'green' phase and start earning a living again. We'll be able to pay our vendors. pay for hay and feed, and it will make everyone feel a little bit better." Currently, 90 percent of the people needed to resume live racing at The Meadows are already reporting to the backside and working every day. Trainer/drivers are here. Caretakers are here. Track and facilities maintanence staff are here. Security personnel are here. Resumption of racing would require about 20 additional people -- and these would be at scattered sites. State veterinarians and other PHRC personnel would be on the backside, but state judges would be at their office in the main casino building. The TV production crew would be in that bulding or outdoors while pari-mutuel clerks -- to handle phone wagers -- would work in a completely separate facility. Thus, the population on the backside, where stringent CDC measures already are in place, would be increased by only a few people. In light of all this, the MSOA respectfully requests that you reconsider your timeline and authorize immediate resumption of live racing, without spectators, at The Meadows. Indeed, our neighboring state of Ohio has done just that, announcing that live racing in Ohio can resume on May 22. Similarly, Indiana and Ontario have announced that live racing at their tracks will resume in June. If you authorize the reopening of racing at The Meadows now, you will immeasurably aid our horsemen and horsewomen, provide a much-needed form of entertainment for Pennsylvanians and, since the Commonwealth receives a commission on every wager, restore a key revenue stream to the state. And you'll accomplish this without adversely affecting public health and safety. Respectfully, Richard G. Gillock, President Meadows Standardbred Owners Association The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) is a nonproft oganization that represents the interests of approximately 700 Standardbred trainers, drivers, caretakers and owners at The Meadows. In addition to providing horses to race at The Meadows, MSOA administers such member-centric services as health insurance and retirement programs for horsemen and horsewomen. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — The horse racing community is urging Governor Tom Wolf to loosen the reins on the industry. Many horse trainers and owners said they are struggling to afford care as the shutdown of racing stretches into week eight. “Right now, I would be very busy probably racing four to five days a week,” said Neal Ehrhart, of Lititz, Lancaster County. Ehrhart has been a horse trainer for 45 years. He and his wife Ginny own 12 Standardbred horses that they train for harness racing. Though the industry shutdown has halted their revenue, the couple still has to care for and feed their athletic animals. Rachel Yonkunas   ✔@RachelYonkunas     As the shutdown of harness racing stretches into week 8, horse trainers and owners are urging @GovernorTomWolf to loosen the reins on the industry. Despite having no income, the Ehrharts still have 12 massive athletes to care for and feed. TONIGHT at 10:00 on @fox43   “We earn nearly 100% of our income from racing. We depend upon the purses that we win when we race,” explained Ehrhart. “That’s how we make our livelihood. That’s how we feed our family.” Ehrhart said caring for a dozen Standardbreds costs nearly $30,000 a month. They have not received any financial help, including unemployment. This mom-and-pop stable feels left in the dust. “We’ve applied for just about everything that’s out there, both federally and statewide, and have gotten zip, nothing, nada,” stated Ehrhart. Some states, like Florida and California, have allowed tracks to continue holding horse races, but without spectators present. The State Horse Racing Commission is urging Governor Wolf to follow suit. Governor Wolf has previously said he would consider the option, but the Governor’s Office did not provide details to FOX43. “That’s what’s scary,” Ehrhart added. “I don’t know what [date] we could go to because we can’t just say ‘well we’re going to show up at the track and go race.’ We have to have the OK from the governor to do that.” Until then, the work never stops. The Ehrharts continue to train their massive athletes that are champing at the bit to get back in the race. “It’s not like you can turn it off. You have to take care of these horses daily,” said Ehrhart. “When the floodgates open, you have to be ready to go and race.” The Wolf Administration has created a list of general guidance for all industries in each phase of reopening. You can find that information here.   by Rachel Yonkunas   Reprinted with permission FOX43

Harrisburg, PA — Please be advised that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission has postponed the following Sires Stakes and Stallion Series races. June 6–Meadows-3-year-old pacing fillies-Sires Stakes and Stallion Series June 7–Pocono-3-year-old trotting fillies-Sires Stakes and Stallion Series June 11–Harrah’s Philadelphia-3-year-old trotting colts-Sires Stakes and Stallion Series These races along with the May Sires Stakes and Stallion Series races that were previously postponed will be rescheduled for later in the year. As soon as dates and information become available, we will pass it along. from the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission

PLAINS TWP. – While Gov. Tom Wolf was in Taylor on Thursday pitching his 2020 budget and the $204 million Nellie Bly Scholarship Program it would create, Pete Peterson stood in Pacers Clubhouse at Mohegan Sun Pocono and questioned the wisdom of how Wolf would fund the scholarship. Wolf’s plan would divert money from the Race Horse Development Trust Fund, which receives funding from Pennsylvania slots revenue, to pay for the scholarship program. Peterson said diverting those funds would be fatal for the horse and harness racing industry. “It would effectively end the harness racing industry as we know it,” said Peterson, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition — an organization representing the six Thoroughbred and Standard-bred horsemen and breeder associations in the state. “It basically takes away all the money that exists for purses and for breeders incentives,” he said. “That’s the lifeblood of the industry.” Mohegan Sun Pocono, which has featured live harness racing for 55 years, will host 133 nights of live racing this year. Wolf, though, believes the money could be better spent. “Let’s bet on our kids instead of bankrolling race horse owners and ensure the viability of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education,” Wolf told those gathered at Riverside High School on Thursday. However, Peterson cautioned that it is more than just the harness and horse racing industry that would be affected. “The industry as a whole has a much broader impact than most people realize,” Peterson said. “They take a look at a track, and they say that’s who the industry employs. “Well, there are thousands of breeders and the people that work for them. And then you have on top of that a range of people from trainers to jockeys to drivers …” Others professions that benefit from the horse racing industry, according to Peterson include, blacksmiths, veterinarians, exercise riders, grooms, equine dentists, equine therapists, jockey agents, hot walkers, nutritionists, bloodstock agents and more. Peterson said that harness and horse racing contribute about 20,000 jobs to the state and has an overall economic impact of $1.6 billion. In addition, Peterson fears the impact taking the funds away from racing will have on the state’s farmers. “It’s going to have a much broader impact on the agriculture economy in the state than I think most people realize,” he said. Noting that the racing industry is typically the top-level buyer for hay, Peterson said the governor’s diverting of funds comes at a bad time for farmers. “Last year, Pennsylvania saw a 20 percent increase in farm bankruptcies,” he said. “And a lot of them are struggling financially, and then to take away their largest customer. “It’s going to really hurt them.” By Joe Soprano Reprinted with permission of The Times Leader

Harrisburg, PA - Harness racing horsemen must remember two important February deadlines to maintain eligibility in the Pennsylvania Breeders Fund Award Program and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Program. The State Horse Racing Commission Bureau of Standardbred Horse Racing today announced that owners must register their stallions for the 2020 breeding season by February 1. Additionally, owners looking to register their broodmares for the Breeders Fund Award Program must have their mares registered as Pennsylvania residents by February 15 to ensure their foals are eligible for the breeder awards. A stallion must remain in the state at a declared facility from February 15 to July 4. Breeding can take place within a couple of weeks of either date. If a stallion is intended to be both a stud and a race horse in 2020, approval must be gained from the Bureau of Standardbred Horse Racing. If the horse competes out-of-state, the horse must return to his declared Pennsylvania facility after each out-of-state race. Broodmares whose owners want them to qualify for resident status must submit registration to the commission office in Harrisburg postmarked by February 15, 2020. Broodmares must reside in Pennsylvania for at least 180 consecutive days, including foaling, and be in foal to a registered Pennsylvania stallion for their offspring to be eligible for breeder awards. No registered broodmare is authorized to leave the state for any reason during that 180 days, except for a medical emergency. If that occurs, the commission must be notified as soon as possible. Stallion Registration Forms and Breeders Fund Registration Forms are available online at or by contacting Ryan Kell at 717-214-9053 or From the PA Horse Racing Commission

Elkton, MD - Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica and the United States Trotting Association, is excited to announce the harness racing line-up for Thursday (September 26th, 2019) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by The Red Mile's Gabe Prewitt, Dayton Raceway's Barry Vicroy, The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association's Andrew 'Shades' Demski, and Pacing For The Cure's Janine Gesek. Prewitt, the voice of the Grand Circuit Meet at the Red Mile, will preview the upcoming meet which begins on Thursday, September 26th, with three divisions of the Bluegrass Stakes for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters. Post Time is 1:00 p.m. (EDT) Vicroy, who is the Track Announcer at Dayton Raceway in Ohio, will talk about the big card coming up on Friday, which includes the Dayton Trotting and Pacing Derbies. The races feature such trotting and pacing stars as Mission Accepted and McWicked. Demsky, the Director of Digital Media and Creative Services for the PHRA, joins us for their monthly segment on what's going on in Pennsylvania Horse Racing. Gesek, the President and Co-Founder of Pacing For The Cure, will give us an update on what's ahead in the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website or on the archive at From Post Time with Mike & Mike

HARRISBURG, PA - The Harness Racing Bureau of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission has compiled the top pointearners in each of the eight divisions raced in the Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes series summer the summer during twenty stops among the state's half-mile ovals. The highest earners of points to declare in on Tuesday, October 1 at The Meadows will get to compete for $25,000 at the western Pennsylvania oval in their respective Fair Sire Stakes Championships on Saturday, October 5. The horses who earn the most points in each of the eight divisions of competition (two and three-year-olds, trotters and pacers, male and female) also get the reward of a cooler, lettered with their accomplishment and fashioned in the stable's colors. These banquets are annually given at the Fair Banquet, and these horses will be honored on Saturday, January 18, 2020 at the Bedford Springs (PA) Omni Hotel and Resort. The eight blanketwinners for the 2019 Pennsylvania fairs are: 2YO TROTTING MALE - PENANCE (g, Father Patrick - Yankee Etta), trained by Bob Rougeaux III for Brocious Racing Stable Inc. 2YO TROTTING FEMALE - LINDY PRETTY LADY (Explosive Matter - Dreamgirl Lindy), trained by Bob Rougeaux III for Brocious Racing Stable Inc. (#1 pointwinner among all fair contestants.) 2YO PACING MALE - LIFE'S MARVALOUS (g, Delmarvalous - Life'sarealbeach), trained and owned by Roger Hammer. (#1 pointwinner among all males.) 2YO PACING FEMALE - RT DON'T SPEAK (Artspeak - Carousel Frame), trained by Bob Rougeaux III for Brocious Racing Stable Inc. 3YO TROTTING MALE - ANDOVERS ASSET (g, Andover Hall - Lively), trained by Linda Schadel and owned by Linda and Tony Schadel. 3YO TROTTING FEMALE - RT GLORIA DE DIOS (Muscle Massive - RT Sun Poco), trained by Bob Rougeaux III for Brocious Racing Stable Inc. 3YO PACING MALE - STRANGER THINGS (g, Western Terror - Southwind Prairie), trained by Steve Schoeffel for owners Virginia and Kathy Schoeffel and James Reuther. 3YO PACING FEMALE - CREW SOCK HANOVER (Well Said - Chantal Hanover), trained by David Brickell and owned by David Brickell and Mitchell York. (#1 pointwinner among all three-year-olds.) In other statistics emerging from the fair season: Six divisional track records were set during the summer. The all-time track record for the Butler Fairgrounds was lowered to 2:00.1 by Crew Sock Hanover. Crew Sock Hanover was also the fastest performer at the Pennsylvania fairs this season with a 1:56.1 triumph at Gratz. On the trot, the gelding Vulcan Hanover trotted in 2:00.2 at Bloomsburg, the fastest mile ever by a two-year-old on the state fair circuit; that time was equaled at Bloomsburg by the three-year-old Andovers Asset for the year's fastest trot. There were 23 2:00 miles during the season, with the four magic miles turned in by Find One More leading that category. Penance led all competitors in "A" Fair Sire Stakes victories with nine; eight wins were recorded by Andovers Asset, Dream Dancing, and RT Gloria De Dios. All these horses led their divisions in points except the two-year-old pacing filly Dream Dancing. The top five drivers and trainers on the 2019 Pennsylvania fair circuit: DRIVERS                     TRAINERS Todd Schadel 55          Todd Schadel 62 Shawn Johnston 45      Roger Hammer 48 (tie) Kyle Bolon 38        Bob Rougeaux III 30 (tie) Roger Hammer 38 (tie) Dave Brickell 25 Eric Neal 29                 Gary Johnston 25 From the PHHA, MSOA,, and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association partnership

Harrisburg, PA - The State Horse Racing Commission's Bureau of Standardbred Horse Racing today reminded Standardbred horse owners that 2019 Sire Stakes second payments for 2-year-old and 3-year-old harness racing horses are due by May 15. Second payments due for 2-year-old horses are $400 for the Pari-mutuel Division and $75 for the Fair Division. This 2-year-old second payment must be made for the horse to be eligible to race as a 2-year-old in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes races. The final 3-year-old $150 Fair Division payment must be paid for the horse to race at the fairs. Yearling nomination fees are $10 for Fairs and $50 for Pari-mutuel, and due May 15, 2019. 2-year-old first Fair Division sustaining fees are $50 (which was due March 15, 2019) and $75, due May 15. The 3-year-old Final Fair payment is $150, due May 15. If no 2-year-old sustaining fees were made, a $750 late sustaining payment may be made March 15 of their 3-year-old season, in addition to the $150 May 15 sustaining fee. The Sire Stakes Sustaining Payment forms are available at Search "sire stakes." Individuals can also contact Ryan Kell at or 717.214.9053 to obtain payment forms. Learn more about the State Horse Racing Commission's work to reinvest in Pennsylvania racing and continue to develop Pennsylvania's reputation as a superior place to breed, train, race and enjoy horses. William R. Nichols Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Communications Office  

The following statement has been issued by the Standardbred Bureau of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission at its regular monthly meeting July 31: As the result of significant misstatements of fact appearing on the Paulick Report from various sources, the State Horse Racing Commission wishes to make the following statement of facts to dispel the misinformation. Regarding the Moonshiner Hanover lab test result from a race at Harrah’s Chester Downs run on September 11, 2016, a lab test result showing a presence of oxycodone did not result in discipline due to human error on the part of the Acting Director of Standardbred Racing at that time. The person assigned to temporarily fill that position simply failed to take notice of this particular lab test result while five other lab test results showing the presence of oxycodone were acted upon in that time frame. Keep in mind that all lab test results are 100 per cent anonymous to both the Bureau Director and the laboratory at this point in the process. The oversight was not known until May 2017. Based upon scientific and legal input sought by the Commission’s staff, the decision was made not to impose discipline at that time. That same scientific and legal input had previously caused the five other oxycodone matters to be settled several months earlier. The oversight occurred several months before Standardbred Bureau Director Revington commenced employment. Director Revington has implemented a mandatory protocol to: (a) review each lab test result containing findings with PETRL’s Lab Director; and (b) require each racetrack manager to submit monthly reports of any samples that are unresolved within 30 days. The State Horse Racing Commission stands fully behind Standardbred Bureau Director Brett Revington and fully endorses his actions to address these issues and prevent any future such occurrence. The balance of the misinformation being circulated arises from a misunderstanding of when the State Horse Racing Commission adopted for Standardbreds the 10 pg/ml ARCI threshold for betamethasone and flumethasone. That did not occur until February 27, 2018. All of the samples discussed in the Paulick Reportwere from before that date. At the time of all the samples being discussed, the Standardbred threshold in Pennsylvania was 100 pg/ml and every sample was in compliance. There were two betamethasone lab test results that were mistakenly called positives and penalties imposed, however that was corrected and all penalties were rescinded. Along with this statement, the State Horse Racing Commission is issuing responses to a set of questions posed by Joe Gorajec on July 18, 2018. 7/18/18 Questions from Joe Gorajec and responses from SHRC staff: 1. Was the owner and/or trainer of the 2nd place finisher in the 2016 PA Sire Stakes Championship notified that the horse tested positive for Oxycodone? If yes, when and by whom? No. As you were previously informed, due to human error in processing one lab test result by the predecessor to Bureau of Standardbred Racing Director Brett Revington, there were no lab test results declared positives from the September 11, 2016, 9th race at Chester Downs. The word positive is a term of art with a specific meaning when used in Pennsylvania equine toxicology testing and license discipline. It means a lab testing result that is determined by the applicable Bureau Director to form the basis for disciplinary action against an occupational license holder. 2. Will the money earned by the horse in question in #1 above be forfeited and redistributed? If yes, when? If no, are any efforts to made to pay back the owners that would have received additional money had the purse been forfeited? If yes, please explain. No. No lab test results were declared positives by the Bureau Director from the September 11, 2016, 9thrace at Chester Downs and no action of the sort referenced in your question will be taken at this time. 3. Please name the individual(s) and title of the person(s) to whom PETRL directly sends it findings to. At this time, Bureau of Thoroughbred Racing Director Thomas Chuckas or Bureau of Standardbred Racing Director Brett Revington are the persons to whom lab test results are sent according to the respective breed of the race involved. 4. Why did you override the Betamethasone findings of PETRL on the following race dates: August 30, 2016, Sept. 22, 2016, November 26, 2016 and July 11, 2017? SHRC staff never ‘overrode’ any lab test result at any time. On the dates referenced, the SHRC’s threshold for Betamethasone in standardbreds was 100 pg/ml. All lab test results from the dates referenced were below the applicable threshold for Betamethasone applicable at the time. As you were previously informed, the SHRC approved the ARCI Therapeutic Medication Guidelines for standardbred racing on February 27, 2018. That action lowered the threshold to 10 pg/ml. This was published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on March 17, 2018. 5. What information did you rely on to determine that the threshold level was 100 pg/ml? Please provide a copy of that information. The threshold for Betamethasone of 100 pg/ml adopted by the former State Harness Racing Commission in 2009 was based upon equipment limitations located at the Pennsylvania Equine Toxicology Laboratory staffed by the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. 6. If the threshold level for betamethasone was 100 pg/ml, then why did the laboratory call a positive test on all four horses even though each had a concentration below 100 pg/ml? As stated previously, the laboratory does not ‘call a positive.’ August 30, 2016 – A lab test result was incorrectly declared a positive by the predecessor to Bureau of Standardbred Racing Director Brett Revington on approximately 9/20/16 and later corrected on approximately 12/17/16. All portions of the penalty were rescinded and USTA removed the ruling from its database. Sept. 22, 2016 – A lab test result was incorrectly declared a positive by the predecessor to Bureau of Standardbred Racing Director Brett Revington on approximately 11/1/16 and later corrected on approximately 12/19/16. All portions of the penalty were rescinded and USTA removed the ruling from its database. November 26, 2016 – A lab test result was incorrectly notated (internal only) by the predecessor to Bureau of Standardbred Racing Director Brett Revington to be a positive but corrected the following day. July 11, 2017 - A lab test result from this date was incorrectly notated (internal only) to be a positive but corrected approximately six days later. This was due to the +/- margin of deviation bringing the provable level below the threshold. 7. If the threshold level was 100 pg/ml, why did you forward these positives to the track for disciplinary action? See previous response to No. 6. 8. If the threshold level was 100 pg/ml, why would the judges at Meadows find a violation and issue a ruling penalizing Mr. Johnston? The lab test result referenced is the August 30, 2016 lab test result recited above in No. 6. 9. When were the Judges notified that the threshold level was 100 pg/ml? Please provide a copy of that documentation. The adoption of the standardbred threshold for Betamethasone of 100 pg/ml by the former State Harness Racing Commission occurred in 2009. 10. When were the Judges notified that the threshold level was 100 pg/ml? Please provide a copy of that documentation. This is a duplicative question. 11. How many findings do PETRL have for Betamethasone in 2016, 2017 and 2018? Lab test results showing betamethasone:  2016 – 9 2017 -1 2018 -1 12. How many of the finds reported in question #11 above resulted in written rulings reported to the USTA. One was over the applicable limit and resulted in a ruling reported to the USTA. 13. Who established the 100 pg/ml for Flumethasone? Please provide the information relied on the make that determination? The standardbred threshold for flumethasone of 100 pg/ml adopted by the former State Harness Racing Commission in 2009 was based upon equipment limitations located at the Pennsylvania Equine Toxicology Laboratory staffed by the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. 14. How many finding of Flumethasone did PETRL make in 2016, 2017 and 2018? Lab test results showing flumethasone:  2016 – 6 2017 – 2 2018 – 0 15. How many of the findings reported in question #14 above resulted in written rulings reported to the USTA. None.

The Pennsylvain State Horse Racing Commission has reponded to the article Alan Pincus wrote in the Here is the response: PENNSYLVANIA STATE HORSE RACING COMMISSION: The article Alan Pincus published June 27 online in the Paulick Report is appalling not only for the misunderstanding he demonstrates about Pennsylvania's equine testing protocols, but also for the inflammatory accusations he levies on good, hard-working public servants based solely on unnamed sources, which should cause any reasonable person to question seriously the credibility of those charges and the true agendas of the accuser. First, Mr. Pincus suggests erroneously that the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission, in particular Harness Racing Director Brett Revington, knowingly gave preferential treatment to two horses that ran on separate dates at Harrah's Chester Downs in September 2016. Aside from the fact that Mr. Revington did not hold his position with the commission at the time of the races — a point Mr. Pincus conveniently and briefly mentions as an aside buried within his article — all drug test samples are provided to the lab without information identifying the horse or its owner. Subsequently, results are also provided to the commission without any way to identify the horse from which the sample was drawn. Only after making a disciplinary decision is the identity of the horse and its owner and trainer revealed. So to be clear, there was no way for Mr. Revington to know when lab results were reported to him that the owner of Woman's Will was from Ontario. The allegation Mr. Revington was somehow showing favoritism for a horse owned by one of his fellow countrymen is simply conjecture for the sake of stoking conspiracy theories. For Mr. Pincus to suggest anyone may have turned a blind eye to lab test results is not only a mischaracterization and misunderstanding of the process, it is grossly irresponsible and pure fiction for the sake of sensationalism. Second, Mr. Pincus impugns the character of Commissioner Darryl Breniser. Yes, Mr. Breniser serves on the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association board and on the State Horse Racing Commission, but the commonwealth's law intentionally allows leaders of the state's equine racing industry to serve on the commission out of a desire to have informed industry experts engaged in the governance process. Prior to 2016's reforms to Pennsylvania's racing industry, it was increasingly difficult to find qualified candidates willing to serve on what was then the State Harness Racing Commission. As such, the Pennsylvania General Assembly saw wisdom in allowing representatives of the state's horsemen and breeders organization to serve — people who care deeply about the future and continued viability of this sport. Further, recognizing there would be those like Mr. Pincus who may try to spin tales of improprieties and conflicts of interest, the General Assembly explicitly banned commissioners from engaging in any ex parte communications about matters that may come before the governing body for consideration. Additionally, commissioners appointed by the Governor — of which Mr. Breniser is one — are subject to strict rules of conduct, the State Ethics Act, as well as financial disclosures designed to bring transparency and accountability to the process. Again, here we question Mr. Pincus' motives. His article in the Paulick Report fails to mention that he previously and unsuccessfully shopped another conspiracy theory regarding a horse named Alexis May Hanover, which ran in the first race at Harrah's on July 28, 2017. That horse is also co-owned by Commissioner Breniser. Mr. Pincus concocted an elaborate claim that concluded a lab result showed the presence of procaine and was also “covered-up.” However, the facts are that all lab test results for that race and day were devoid of any presence of procaine. When this baseless allegation was discredited, Mr. Pincus apparently abandoned it. The third matter that bears correction regards Mr. Harmon's employment status with the Horse Racing Commission as a judge at Harrah's Chester Downs. While commonwealth policy prohibits a public airing of Mr. Harmon's employment record, what can be said is that he was not fired. At the end of any track's racing season, commission employees are placed on leave without pay. Mr. Harmon was simply informed that he would not be retained for the 2018 racing season. Another allegation that bears correcting is the extent to which Mr. Harmon would have been involved in the cases Mr. Pincus cites — namely Moonshine Hanover and Woman's Will. Mr. Harmon had no role in, nor was he involved in the process of interpreting lab results or determining whether discipline would be imposed in any medication case that arose while he worked for the commission. This is as it should be because a judge is required to hear appeals from discipline assessed. A judge must not be exposed to any of the evidence before an appeal hearing is convened so as not to prejudice the licensee. Finally, the statement that Mr. Pincus was denied an audience with the Horse Racing Commission regarding these matters is disingenuous at best and, at worst, a blatant misrepresentation of reality. As he notes in his article, Mr. Pincus requested to discuss these matters with the commission in executive session, which is closed to the public. Under Pennsylvania's Sunshine Act, such matters are not appropriate for a closed-door executive session. Mr. Pincus was offered an opportunity to voice his concerns during the public session later the same day, but he declined, thus, his decision to air these matters in a public forum such as an online industry trade publication raises questions as to his true intent. Pennsylvania is fortunate to have one of the nation's most advanced and robust drug testing programs for equine racing. The quality of our results is unparalleled, as is the integrity of the men and women who work in the program and for the State Horse Racing Commission. For purported “evidence” from unnamed sources regarding only one track to be raised in such a sensational way raises serious questions about the true intent of the accusers, as well as the legitimacy of those claims. These accusations merit further inspection, and we at the commission welcome a full and public airing of the facts on these matters, rather than a one-sided characterization by one individual, in this case, Mr. Alan Pincus. To read the rest of the story CLICK HERE.

WILKES-BARRE PA - Followers of the high-class racing conducted at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, no matter their location, now have an important, informative tool that can be an aid to their handicapping, betting, and (hopefully) winning - a complete set of chart comments on every one of the pari-mutuel races at Pocono. The comments will be posted by Pocono Racing Marketing Manager Jennifer Starr several days before the normal seven-day cycle of racing would suggest a horse and his class would next be used. The comments can be found on the track's website, in the Newsroom or in the Racing section next to the previous nights' replays: would be the linking URL. In the comments, veteran race observer Jerry Connors describes the race as it unfolds. Some races pretty much "tell their own story," but other times the comments can help answer important-to-know questions such as: How wide was a horse during the (whatever distance) on the first turn? When did he start to make his move outside?  Was his cover lively, or sluggish? Or was he uncovered? When did he go three- (or more) wide on the far turn? Was the horse locked in and shuffled back behind a tired foe? Did a horse have clearance in the stretch? If so, when was the clearance available? Having this information gives a player the ability to "properly interpret" a horse's race, and possibly alert him to a horse who is better on paper than he looks - and may be going off at too-generous odds by a public looking strictly at the program lines. A better-informed player is one can put himself in position to take advantage of a potentially good payoff, or avoid a potentially "overbet" horse. This is why Pocono Downs, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, is pleased to offer this service to its public. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

I first went to work at a racetrack in 1965 as a teenager. I've always loved the game because it truly is the greatest game. People either understand this or they don't. You meet some of the most interesting people at the racetrack and the horses are magnificent animals. But as colorful as racing is, it also has its dark side. For the past 25 years, I have been battling with the Pennsylvania Racing Commission as an attorney. Every day I try to fight the good fight in a system that is fundamentally stacked against the horsemen. In hearings against horsemen, the Commission is the investigator, the prosecutor and the judge. To have any chance at a fair shot, you depend on the integrity of every person working for the Commission. People come to me all the time with grievances against the Commission. They say they know this or that about the unfairness and corruption of the Commission, but my answer is always the same: “Bring me some documentary proof of your claims and I will look into it. I can't go on what you think you know; I can only proceed based on facts.” But without fail, no one can ever produce any documentary proof. Then, in March of this year, a fellow came to me and said the Commission is finding positive tests and throwing them in the garbage, letting horses with illegal drugs in their systems get away scot-free. I gave him my standard response. A couple weeks later he brought me a stack of papers that actually verified his claims. When I saw these papers, which included lab reports and emails from Brett Revington, Standardbred bureau director for the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission, I actually got physically ill. They show that, indeed, horses had tested positive for even Class 1 drugs and those positive tests were basically thrown into the garbage can. Most of these races were at Harrah's Chester. The papers only showed this activity in harness racing. There is no evidence that it exists in Thoroughbred racing in Pennsylvania. In my opinion, this was a scandal of the highest order and it proves the outright corruption infecting the Commission. While I realized that this had to be exposed, I also realized that there are people who may use this information to justify taking the slots funding away from the horsemen. I had a moral quandary on my hands. Believe me, I wish I had never seen these papers. In Pennsylvania, a horse has its sample taken post race and sent to the Pennsylvania Equine Toxicology and Research Laboratory (PETRL), the official lab, for testing. If the sample has a suspicious result, Dr. Mary Robinson, the acting director of the lab, sends what is called a short-term hold report to the bureau director. If Dr. Robinson actually finds an illegal amount of a drug, she later sends a positive test report to the bureau director showing the name of the drug and its quantified level. In a major flaw in the system, the bureau director then has the discretion to actually call it a positive or not. If he doesn't wish to call it a positive, there is very little chance of anyone finding out. The system relies on the integrity of the bureau director.  I was particularly interested in an email from Mr. Revington that was part of the stack of papers given to me. It read: “Those holds with possible positives. I spoke with legal and they suggested not to pursue due to timing. I'm OK taking that direction as internal thresholds suggest not to call positive anyways.” Note the words “those holds.” That  suggests that there were multiple tests – plural – which were not revealed. This email raised several red flags to me. For non-therapeutic drugs, the Commission has always maintained that the slightest level of detection is the standard, meaning that any detected amount is called a positive. They consistently raise this argument in court. Had the Commission been untruthful in their court statements? Dr. Robinson is a master at finding insignificant levels of a drug that cannot possibly affect performance, and the Commission constantly punishes people pursuing their level of detection theory. I thought the best course of action was to confront Revington and ask for an explanation. I didn't want to show him everything I had, as I wanted to see his reaction first. So I brought him the above email and the short-term hold and reported positive forms from Dr. Robinson for the ninth race at Chester on September 11, 2016. In this $252,000 stakes race, a horse named Moonshine Hanover, trained by Christopher Beaver, had finished second and had earned approximately $50,000. There is no evidence Beaver ever knew his horse tested positive for the Class 1 drug oxycodone. There had been several other positives for oxycodone at Chester both before and after the race in question and all had the purses forfeited. Why hadn't this one been acted upon? When I showed Mr. Revington the documents related to this race, his face became ashen and he called Jorge Augusto, the Commission's attorney, into the meeting. When I asked for an explanation, they both responded in anger telling me it was none of my business and they didn't have to explain anything to anybody. They then forcefully suggested I get out of their office. Dr. Robinson's positive test report was dated September 21, 2016. Mr. Revington, who was hired in November 2016, later stated he didn't find out about it until May of 2017, claiming that that is why he did not proceed on the positive test. What happened? To view the rest of the story, click here. Reprinted with permission from the 

A harness racing license, held for almost 10 years by entities with ties to Lawrence County, is again on the block. The state Harness Racing Commission began accepting applications Tuesday for Pennsylvania's final harness racing license, which includes the right to apply for the state's final casino license. The application period will run until 4 p.m. Nov. 28. That license had been awarded in 2007 to Centaur Gaming for a track that would have been called Lawrence Downs and built along Route 422 in Mahoning Township. However, Centaur and three succeeding entities were unable to obtain financing for the project. In July 2016, the state Gaming Control Board rejected the casino license application from Endeka Entertainment, the most recent harness racing license holder. The Horse Racing Commission responded by revoking Endeka's harness racing license, which ended any hopes of bringing a casino to Lawrence County. The Horse Racing Commission opened applications for the license from February to June this year, but received no applications. Lawrence County Commissioner Dan Vogler said he thinks expansion of slot machine and video gaming, and the prospect of further expansion, might be discouraging investors from committing to a project likely to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The rejected Lawrence County proposal was projected to cost approximately $200 million. Vogler was involved in the earlier application process as the county's liaison with investors and state regulators. While he acknowledged that Lawrence County casino dreams are gone, Vogler couldn't resist one last pitch. "There remains a 250-acre site here in our county that would, in my judgment, be ideal." By Eric Poole Reprinted with permission of The Ellwood City Ledger

The Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission today reminded Standardbred horse owners that 2017 Sire Stakes payments for 2-year-old and 3-year-old horses are due by May 15, 2017. Second payments that are due for 2-year-old horses are $400 for the Pari-mutuel Division and $75 for the Fair Division. This 2-year-old payment must be made for the horse to be eligible to race as a 2-year-old in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes races. The final 3-year-old Fair payment must be paid in order for the horse to race at the fairs. Be advised that a new fee structure has recently been approved for those horses that are in the fair division. Yearling nomination fees are now $10, due May 15, 2017. Two-year-old sustaining fees were $50 if paid by March 15, 2017 and $75 if paid by May 15, 2017. The 3-year-old payment is $150, due May 15, 2017. Lastly, if no 2-year-old sustaining fees were made, a $750 late sustaining payment may be made by March 15 of the horse's 3-year-old season, in addition to the $150 May 15th sustaining fee, which still remains. The Sire Stakes Sustaining Payment forms are available at by searching for "sire stakes" or by contacting Pennie Dodson at William R. Nichols Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture | Communications Office 2301 North Cameron Street | Hbg PA 17110 Phone: 717.787.5085 | Fax: 717.705.8402      

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