OHHA, OPP, ORC Comment On Charges

Published: November 10, 2010 10:04 am EST

Representatives from the Ontario Provincial Police, Ontario Harness Horse Association and Ontario Racing Commission have commented on the situation regarding trainer Christopher Haskell, Cassie Nantais and Derek


The OPP announced earlier this week that on November 7, 2010 OPP officers from OCEB, as well as the Essex OPP detachment, the Windsor Police Service and the OPP Assets Forfeiture Unit, assisted ORC Task Force members and Special Constables in the execution of search warrants at a Windsor residence and a Tecumseh horse stable.

Haskell, Nantais and Riesberry have all been charged with one count each of cheat at play, fraud, and offences under the Pari-mutuel (betting) regulations of the Criminal Code. All charged persons have been released on an Undertaking which prohibits involvement in horse racing. They are to appear in Windsor court on January 5, 2011.

"The allegation is that he (Haskell) was administering substances to the horses before the races that would affect the outcome of the races," OPP Det. Sgt. Steven Schandlen was quoted as saying in an article by The Windsor Star.

According to the report, Schandlen wouldn't specify the substances -- he cited the ongoing investigation -- but he did clarify that the substances were not steroids.

"Anybody that's clipping along at a percentage much higher than the industry norm is going to be under a very close microscope and subject to rumours," OHHA Industry Liaison and Policy Advisor Brian Tropea was quoted as saying in regard to Haskell's high Universal Trainer Rating.

Tropea also went on to say, "We expect the people that are trying to earn a living in the business to be competing on a level playing field."

"It's unfortunate," ORC Deputy Director Rob McKinney was quoted as saying. "But the vast majority of people in the industry are hard-working individuals who abide by the rules."

(With files from The Windsor Star and the OPP)

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