Last week, media outlets in Ontario reported on allegations at two of the province's racetracks. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, the Lakeshore Horse Racing Association, and Dresden Raceway, have each commented on the allegations, and the investigation.
"AGCO Investigators in London received a call from a member of the public with concerns about racing at Leamington and Dresden," the AGCO has said in a statement. "The AGCO review of this allegation is not complete. AGCO Racing Investigators continue to gather information.
"The fairness and integrity of horse racing is of paramount concern to the AGCO. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact us. Call 519-668-7558 or toll free 1-800-522-2876."
Because the investigation is ongoing, the AGCO will not be commenting on further details of the story at this time. Once the investigation is complete, the AGCO will respond further.
Wayne Martinuik, the general manager and treasurer of the Lakeshore Horse Racing Association, which operates live racing at Leamington Raceway, said the following in a statement:
"Through the media, Lakeshore Horse Racing Association (LHRA) was made aware of an active investigation by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) regarding racing at Leamington and Dresden Raceway.
"We have subsequently been provided with a copy of the written complaint and have held discussions with the individuals named in the allegation. Based on our discussions with the accused and our previous history with the accuser, LHRA is satisfied the allegations have no merit. Furthermore, we are of the opinion that the allegations were made to the AGCO with malicious intent."
Dresden Raceway spokesman Gary Patterson has also commented on the allegations and has stated that, according to him, there is no basis for the accusations.
“A driver has a split second to make a choice on the track,” Patterson said, referring to how drivers don’t even have time during a race to fix outcomes. “It all has to come together perfectly to form the horse race, and I would be very, very surprised if any of these allegations are even close to being true.”
As reported in the Windsor Star on Tuesday, ‘The Dresden trainer at the centre of the investigation, who did not want his name used until the investigation is complete, said two AGCO investigators interviewed him a few weeks ago.’
“I want to clear the raceways,” the trainer told The Star. “They’re trying to get patrons, you can’t say someone is cheating. This is strictly against me, but I have too good a name for that.”
The trainer told The Star that investigators questioned him about a pair of races in which his horse finished sixth and seventh, respectively, and then, a few weeks later, the same horse won a race at The Raceway at Western Fair District.
“The speed of my horse was the same for all the races, that happens,” the trainer explained. “When you get lucky, you win.”
Mark Williams, the president of the Lakeshore Horse Racing Association and the local representative to the Ontario Harness Horse Association, was also interviewed by The Star.
“You might as well be naming the Pope,” Williams told The Star. “He’s the most honest guy who has ever taken a breath."
Trot Insider will continue to follow the story as it develops.