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Meadowlands Requests Oakes' Horses Scratched

Published: October 25, 2016 4:36 pm ET

Last Comment: October 27, 2016 12:55 pm ET | 8 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The Meadowlands Racetrack has sent a formal request to the New Jersey Racing Commission asking to have both Breeders Crown horses trained by Chris Oakes to be scratched from this weekend’s Finals for failing to cooperate with an agreed-upon surveillance and out-of-competition testing program.

The two Oakes horses are Luck Be Withyou, owned by John H. Craig, and Split The House, owned by Crawford Farms Racing. Both were entered in the $421,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace.

“Mr. Oakes had originally agreed to relocate his horses to White Birch Farm in New Jersey,” explained Meadowlands Chairman Jeffrey Gural. “The horses did not arrive by the Sunday deadline. I then compromised and gave them until Monday and then Tuesday. I even offered to allow the horses to continue to be stabled and trained at Mr. Oakes’ farm in Pennsylvania provided I could have 24-hour surveillance on the horses at my own expense. Mr. Oakes and his lawyer Howard Taylor have refused to respond to these requests.”

A copy of the email request sent to the New Jersey Racing Commission is below.


Mr. Zanzuccki,

Trainer Chris Oakes has refused to relocate his two Breeders Crown horses ("Split The House" and "Luck Be Withyou" both aged pace Breeders Crown entrants) entered at the Meadowlands to a training facility and or farm here in New Jersey. We also offered Mr. Oakes a compromise where as we would allow him to continue to train his two horses at his farm in Pennsylvania but under 24 hour surveillance paid for by us. Mr. Oakes at this time has continued to refuse as we have not heard from him and or his attorney Howard Taylor. The New Meadowlands Racetrack under the direction of our Chairman Jeffrey R. Gural is hereby requesting that both Mr. Oakes horses be scratched from the aged Breeders Crown finals this Friday, October 28th. Again, the two horses are Split The House and Luck Be Withyou.


(with files from The Meadowlands)

October 27, 2016 - 12:55 pmMr Scott, all horses that

carl roberts SAID...

Mr Scott, all horses that enter the Breeders Crown must go to the detention barn under close scrutiny. This is standard practice. In fact most major stake harness races they have a detention barn.

October 27, 2016 - 9:32 amMike Scott... Select group of

john thomas SAID...

Mike Scott...

Select group of trainers?
All Breeders Crown horses are in the Detention-barn.

Jeff Gural has gone above and beyond with Chris Oakes, by offering him out of the box solutions.

October 26, 2016 - 5:14 pmI respect all that Jeff has

I respect all that Jeff has done for racing and he is a true leader but I agree with Mike Scott in that all horses should be in retention and not just one or two hand picked. This is sort of like the Cobalt tests, in that some trainers were banned along with the horses and then a couple of other trainers got hit and everything changed. I am not defending anyone as our sport needs to be clean and it is far from it. All sports are far from clean.

We can't allow that. I am unsure of any mitigating situation behind that but I would have thought all horses are held in retention for the crown races for a couple days anyway.

I wonder about the Meadowlands Pace sponsorship or how it may be affected going forward? Seems weird to be singled out though.

October 26, 2016 - 1:17 pmWhat gives Mr. Gural the

Mike Scott SAID...

What gives Mr. Gural the right to single out only one, or a select group of trainers? If detention is what he would prefer then it must be all horses and all trainers.

October 26, 2016 - 11:44 amIntegrity seems to the

Norm Brunet SAID...

Integrity seems to the biggest issue facing this sport, yet when someone tries to give it credibility they are met by opposition and non-cooperation from industry participants.
Harness racing needs to work together and not against itself for the good of the betting public and the longevity of this sport.

Mr. Gural, keep up the good fight.

October 26, 2016 - 8:35 amIt seems Mr. Gural is one of

Luis Willis SAID...

It seems Mr. Gural is one of the only ones trying to make the sport legit, but no one else seems to care.

October 26, 2016 - 5:09 amIt is only with Mr. Gural's

Joe Travis SAID...

It is only with Mr. Gural's guidance that we have any sort of chance to improve the credibility of harness racing. Good for Mr. Gural and others to try to take positive steps toward making this sport more respectable.

October 25, 2016 - 5:04 pmCheers to Jeff Gural for

Mike Adams SAID...

Cheers to Jeff Gural for doing everything he can to ensure the integrity of the Breeders Crown.


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