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Racing Reacts To Indictments

Published: March 10, 2020 12:03 pm ET

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Reaction to the federal indictments in the United States continues to come in, as multiple racing organizations have commented on what occurred on Monday, March 9 south of the border.

On March 9, the United States Department of Justice announced the unsealing of multiple indictments relating to members of the horse racing industry. The announcement revealed four indictments which have collectively charged a total of 27 individuals with 'offenses relating to the systematic and covert administration of illegal performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to racehorses competing across the United States and abroad.'

Comments from organizations in reaction to the indictments appear below.

WOODBINE ENTERTAINMENT CEO JIM LAWSON

While today’s news is very disappointing, it’s a necessary development and further evidence that horse racing requires a higher level of coordinated regulation across all North American jurisdictions. It’s also a strong statement that the use of performance enhancing drugs will not be tolerated. Hopefully this permeates through the industry and changes the culture at all levels of horse racing. While Woodbine Entertainment was not specifically involved in this investigation, we are extremely supportive of all efforts to eradicate cheating and the use of PEDs in our sport. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this investigation. Even though the vast majority of trainers do not use PEDs, it’s important that we all work together for the betterment of horse racing and the welfare of our horses.

UNITED STATES TROTTING ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT RUSSELL WILLIAMS

The U.S. Trotting Association has been cooperating for several years with official investigations, several of which now have reached the indictment stage in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

“Having worked in the criminal justice system some years ago, I’m acutely aware of the presumption of innocence that applies from indictment through trial,” said Russell Williams, USTA President. “At the same time, it’s essential to the administration of justice and to the health of our industry for anyone with knowledge of possibly illegal activity to cooperate with law enforcement authorities. It is imperative that our sport is conducted fairly and with integrity.”

In his official statement, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman states that “the care and respect due to the animals competing, as well as the integrity of racing, are matters of deep concern.”

We fully concur.

The USTA will continue to monitor the situation, but as a matter of policy regarding all pending legal proceedings, will have no further comment.

MEADOWLANDS RACETRACK

The Meadowlands is in complete support of the Federal indictments against those who would use and distribute Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) that came to light yesterday.

As a result, no horses that have been recently trained by any of those named in the indictments will be accepted for entry in Meadowlands races until further notice.

STANDARDBRED BREEDERS AND OWNERS ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY

As New Jersey's horsemen’s representatives, the SBOANJ, would like to remind everyone that our No. 1 concern is that of the integrity of racing and the proper care of all animals competing in our sport. In no way do we condone any of the illegal activity alleged in the release of the indictments Monday morning.

We are confident that the justice system will act accordingly and in the best interest of our sport and the welfare of our horses. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and take appropriate action if and when necessary.

BRITTANY FARMS OWNER GEORGE SEGAL

No one was surprised by this, as many of us felt this has been going on for years. The parties charged with these crimes, if guilty, not only stole from the betting public, fellow trainers and owners, but abused the animals in their possession.

I applaud the Department of Justice’s U.S. Attorney’s office in New York and the FBI in taking the lead in the investigation, and hope other states will be vigilant and join in. Our game can only flourish if we move forward with the highest integrity. The bottom line is this is a good thing for all of us, and a big step in the right direction.


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