Gorajec Dismissal Would Be Assault On Racing’s Integrity

by | 10.08.2015 | 10:16am
Joe Gorajec
Joe Gorajec

It's been almost 42 years since the “Saturday Night Massacre” of Oct. 20, 1973, when President Richard Nixon ordered his attorney general to fire Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal.

In a dramatic turn of events, Attorney General Elliot Richardson resigned rather than execute Nixon's order and so, too, did Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus. The third man in line, Solicitor General Robert Bork, carried out the dismissal of Cox, who was fired by Nixon, essentially, for doing too good a job in uncovering the facts behind an event that 10 months later would lead to the only resignation in the history of the U.S. presidency.

A different kind of political massacre is unfolding in horse racing at the local level, though it will have ripple effects throughout the country.

Shockingly, Joe Gorajec, who for nearly 25 years has been executive director of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission, has gotten word he is being fired this Saturday by his politically appointed superiors.

The reason? In my opinion, it's because Gorajec has done too good a job in regulating horse racing and attempting to ensure integrity for those who participate as owners, trainers or bettors. He has stepped on toes, and some of those toes may belong to people who have friends in high places in Indiana politics.

The Indiana Horse Racing Commission, under Gorajec's direction, has been, without question, a national leader in regulatory oversight on any number of fronts.

His pending dismissal from a commission led by former state Sen. Thomas Weatherwax would be a huge blow to the integrity of Indiana racing and to national efforts to improve the sport's public image.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who may or may not be aware of these political machinations, ultimately will be held responsible if the oversight of Indiana horse racing – an unqualified bright spot on the national front – devolves into something akin to Pennsylvania's haphazard regulation of a sport mired in scandal.

“I have been given information that the commission is going to give me an ultimatum, and that is resign or be fired,” Gorajec told the Paulick Report after rumors of his demise began to circulate throughout the national horse racing community. “I have absolutely no knowledge of any wrongdoing on my part.”

Weatherwax could not be reached and did not return a voice message left on his cell phone asking for an explanation. Vice chairman Greg Schenkel would not speak on the matter, saying only that “there's been no commission action” and deferred further comment to Weatherwax.

Before he is forced to walk down the political gangplank, let's review some of the accomplishments by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission under Gorajec's leadership.

—Nearly 10 years ago, an initiative called Integrity '06 incorporated stiffer penalties, tighter backstretch security and enhanced drug testing. This program was a first-in-the-nation attempt to monitor veterinary activity in a racetrack's stable area, among other things requiring racetracks to hire security guards to shadow vets as they treated horse's on race day. It also was the first program to do away with the automatic transfer of a suspended trainer's horses to a family member, assistant trainer or other employee.

—The Indiana Horse Racing Commission, unlike many other states, consistently has rejected licensing applications from individuals with the most heinous racing infractions or associations with known members of organized crime. Being licensed in another state does not automatically give someone the privilege of racing in Indiana.

—Serious drug violations, including prohibited race-day treatments, have led to stiff penalties, not only against trainers responsible for the horses in their care but the veterinarians who were involved. At least three veterinarians have received suspensions of one year or more in recent times. Earlier this summer, as one example, the commission suspended a standardbred trainer 10 years for a blood-doping violation.

—Every commission ruling during Gorajec's tenure has held up in the court system. Not once has a suspension, even the harshest ones for multiple years, been overturned through a legal challenge.

—Indiana last year became the first U.S. racing jurisdiction to recognize through unannounced testing that cobalt was being abused at an alarming rate. Emergency regulations and a test program were put in place ahead of any other state, the result being that a substance harmful to horses and potentially performance enhancing has been, for the most part, eliminated.

—Earlier this year, the Indiana Horse Racing Commission embarked on an ambitious quality assurance audit of its official testing laboratory, Truesdail, the California-based lab that tests in more than a dozen other states, including Arkansas, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. Essentially, split samples were sent to a different lab for back-up screening, and the results were shocking: Truesdail missed seven positive tests over a 26-day period, including a Class 1 drug. In four of the seven instances, Truesdail was given a second chance to re-test the samples but still failed to detect what were commonly used medications. The commission moved quickly to change labs.

No other state or national organization, including the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium or the Association of Racing Commissioners International, has successfully implemented a quality assurance program of this type.

Why not?

“There is a huge risk involved,” Gorajec said, “especially when you're trying to be transparent. You have to live with the results, whether you like them or not. That's why a lot of states are reluctant to do these initiatives, because they can't control the outcome. When you have an honest audit, when you have an integrity based, double-blind program, you're really going out on a limb.”

That limb is about to snap under the weight of Gorajec's accomplishments.

If Gov. Pence allows Indiana Horse Racing Commission chairman Weatherwax to go forward with plans to dismiss Gorajec after 25 exemplary years on the job, it will be a serious assault on the sport's integrity, well beyond the borders of the Hoosier State.

  • Indiana wants to join Pennsylvania on the Dark Side of horseracing.

    • Racing Fan

      Who paid a lobbyist to make sure this happens? Someone needs to follow the money trail. I would start by looking at the National HBPA and go from there.

      • merrill roberts

        Every body should know first that Ray Paulick is a close friend of Joes and thats why he is definding him but the truth be knowen it will take ten years to
        undo the damage Joe has done to Indy racing. Ray Charles could see the damage he has done to our racing program. Only those who cant see the forest for the trees are defending him.

        • RayPaulick

          Merrill. You clearly don’t know me. If you did, you would know that I have no close friends in horse racing.

          I understand the HBPA has battled with the commission and you may be happy to see a change in leadership. I don’t share that view.

          • Pop N Go

            That’s well and good, cause Gorajec is not in Horse Racing. He is a Government appointee run a muck. (Barry, like a muck bucket, something only people from other countrys use with Team Valor horses).

        • Why is it that none of the anit-Gorajec posters has the ability to spell correctly or compose a simple sentence?

          • T . R . U

            Why is it that Barry Irwin wants to run his mouth about horsemen in a state that he’s NEVER ran a horse in… Probably because he’s afraid of what Joe would think of his post race test and lisence application. Funny you’d have to win a race to be tested… something that’s been rather tough without REAL trainers that run horses in the state & win!!!

        • MLS

          That explains a lot!

  • IronMaidensTbreds

    If we ever get to the point where there is a unified regulatory agency, Joe Gorajec should be named National Racing Commissioner.

    • Sharie

      I agree! His work stands as a fine example for all involved.

    • Mindy McDowell Walker

      He’s a monster and has no business running anything, He changes the rules according to who you are daily. He has set out to intentionally destroy so many lives and careers and shouldn’t be allowed to flip hamburgers at McDonalds.

  • Hamish

    If it is a political favor being orchestrated by someone(s) with a grudge, chances are there is a money trail of contributions that will be uncovered. If Gorajec overstepped his bounds trying to stop the cheaters and loses his job as a result, horse racing suffers.

  • Racing Fan

    Ray, please seek comment from the National HBPA and ask them if they’ve paid a lobbyist to make sure Joe goes.

    • And the ARCI. How can anyone who claims to be for integrity and animal welfare allow this to stand?

    • Concerned Observer

      Just a reminder, as race horse owners we are all members of the HBPA in every state where we race. So….. When was the last time you voted, or called a board member to complain, or expressed your views to your trainer, or attended a meeting? It is our organization, so get active and change it!
      Kinda like the talk radio dudes that proudly state that they don’t like the actions of our government and that is why they never vote.

  • lastromantribune

    some day you can stick a fork in racing when crap like this is allowed.

  • If the commission actually follows through and has Joe removed, it will face scrutiny from the press that should uncover the real reasons behind any dismissal. Joe has a long list of enemies and their ties to local politicians and racetrack owners should be fairly easy to uncover. It is just as important to find out which people or entities would sit back and allow this to happen. That may be the bigger story. Integrity comes with a cost and some folks and entities are unwilling to absorb it.

  • TimelyWalk

    Please bring him to California!

  • Tres Abagados Stupidos

    Unfrickenbelievable. I’m guessing they must have found out that he is solely responsible for the genocide in Darfur. With what he has accomplished there is NO WAY he could have done anything less heinous and be dismissed. I do not know this guy. I have never met him in passing either. But from what he has done to clean up horse racing in Indiana I wish they would clone him and send him to regulate all the racing commissions in the country. If he is actually dismissed it will be just one more of many big black eyes this industry inflicts on itself.

    • Mindy McDowell Walker

      You clearly don’t know this man. I do know him personally and you should believe everything you read and hear in the press. He is a monster that should have been gone a long time ago.

  • BILL CASNER

    If all commissions were like Joe Gorajec’s we would not need to have Federal Legislation. If this occurs it would be a travesty to a model of what is universally recognized (except be those who operate on the dark side) as the foremost commission in the industry. It also reaffirms why we NEED Federal Legislation. It demonstrates how powerful those groups and individuals are who do not want the highest level of integrity in testing and ferreting out the cheaters.
    I would suggest that all of you that are outraged by this unfair pending termination express your support of Joe Gorajec by emailing the Indiana’s governors office at [email protected] You can also call and leave a message for the governor at 317-232-1800.

  • we’re watching

    Pence is a dimwit who contributed nothing to the do nothing Congress of the past 12 years, so expect more of no support from him. Anyone with backbone and stands up to politicians will always feel the heat and get the worst of it. The man under fire has our support as racing fans and we hope he has the best outcome rather than the worst.

    It really does make one wonder where we are as a free country and who is representing us as a free people.

    • Chancey Gardner

      No one wonders – it is as plain as day. They fix all kinds of races. ;-)

  • Dadnatron

    I am an IN resident and have a call in to Weatherwax. I will post information if I am able to get any.

    • Chancey Gardner

      Please do. Perhaps we can all use our Google and deluge the man’s office with phone calls, emails, and most importantly, letters. Let him know there are a host of watchful eyes on his behavior.

      • Dadnatron

        This is the main office.

        Indiana Horse Racing Commission
        1302 N. Meridian, Suite 175
        Indianapolis, IN 46202
        (317) 233-3119

        • Chancey Gardner

          Ima call THEM tomorrow

  • Jerry

    THERE IS “NO INTEGRITY IN HORSERACING” WITH GUYS LIKE FARISH AND OTHERS AROUND…………………………

    • LongTimeEconomist

      To say nothing of the infamous “Jerry”.

  • Sheri Norris

    Purger of ones self, not filling RMTC guidelines for recommended penalities, total disregard of valid evidence, hiding witnesses, making deals with individuals admittedly giving race day administrations all while attempting to make ones self appear transparent yet hiding actual truth is reason enough to dismiss an executive director!

    • Unless you are suggesting that Mr. Gorajec completely eliminated his bowels, I think the word you wanted to use was perjury, which is a very serious allegation, one that you might want to make sure you can back up before lobbing it in a public forum such as this, unless you want to face your own day in court.

      • Sheri

        Yes, Barry… Already had my day in Kangaroo Court! This is how I know every time he opens his mouth he eliminates bowl!

    • lastromantribune

      if what you say is true….why is not Obama in jail along with Clinton ?

      • 4Bellwether666

        Spoken like a true tea bag!!!…A ton of AH’s in Horse racing are the ones that should be locked up!!!…Period…

        • Chancey Gardner

          T – Bagger

  • Tinky

    Have I mentioned previously that the American Thoroughbred industry is a microcosm of broader American society? Why yes, I believe I have, and here you have even further, damning evidence.

    Those who aggressively seek to hold corrupt, powerful people accountable, face tremendous, and at times dangerous obstacles. See Elliot Spitzer and Michael Hastings as pungent examples.

    • Chancey Gardner

      Edward Snowden

    • lastromantribune

      Elliot Spitzer was a hypocrite…..but he did a good job…..that sounds funny …but its true.

      • Chancey Gardner

        Perhaps it is time for Americans to grow up and stop worrying about what leaders do in their bedrooms.

        • idavis

          It’s called morality. A person who is a hypocrite and cheats on his/her spouse, does not garner respect. It’s akin to lying and deceit. Character and principles, without regard to consequences, do matter in ALL professions.

    • togahombre

      governor steamroller destroyed the livelihoods of hof rider braulio baeza and mario sciafani in a selfish attempt to pad his own dubious resume, since this is a racing website i’ll leave it at that

  • youcantmakeitup

    If this is the case, why should horsemen get any slot subsidies? I keep hearing about all the honest horsemen out there and I do believe there are some. Well here is their chance to stand up and be heard. They supposedly outnumber the cheats many times over so your opportunity to make a difference is now.

    • Dadnatron

      We are trying… very very hard.

    • Edzepplin

      So if I disagree with you about him, I am a cheater ? Really?

  • Ben van den Brink

    Tuesdail struck back????

  • mike

    Does anyone really care about Indiana? Another region that is being propped up by a subsidy.

    • Chuck Brown

      So is Football, Baseball, oh an by the way. Cancer research, ALS research, etc.

  • JSS

    Mr. Gorajec has survived thru many governors and many issues within Indiana. Not always the most popular person within the industry, I always found Joe to be upfront and honest about his positions.

    It’s a shame if the executive session this Saturday morning at the IHRC offices is to remove him. While not knowing the impetus of this situation, Joe always focused on integrity and fairness within the sport and the health/well-being of the athlete.

    He will be missed by many within the industry.

    • Horsechick

      He is the opposite of “integrity” and “fairness”

  • Kevin Callinan

    Philly could undo all of the bad press they have had lately by offering Mr. Gorajec a 5 year deal Saturday afternoon.

  • Sal Carcia

    Charles Hayward was railroaded out of the NYRA by Governor Cuomo for political purposes concerning the casinos. The NYTimes lauded Cuomo for that move.

    The next week the NYTimes criticized Cuomo (his PAC or other associated organization) for taking a $2M gift from Genting. No connection by the times was ever made between the two events.

    The takeout scandal was cited, but two oversight committees populated with Cuomo appointees did not catch it. The NYRWB actually claimed that the NYRA email requesting NYRWB’s reading on the takeout law was eaten by the spam filter. Eaten mind you.

    Politicians are good at politics!

    • Richard Land

      Hayward presided over NYRA while its physical plant crumbled, while horses broke down in record numbers, while a leading owner ended up convicted of neglecting horses, a leading trainer received a 10 year banishment, while the quality of year round racing diminished alarmingly. And oh yeah there was that takeout thing…

      • Sal Carcia

        Hayward was operating under a government attack that went on against the NYRA for nine years. The government successfully removed the NYRA from any chance of getting a slots license. Then the government put them under a financial crunch. Cuomo presided over the final coup against them by taking over management of the NYRA until all the casino business was concluded.

        Hayward did all he could to keep the operation going. But in the end, he was no match against the Guv.

        But, has much changed since the new management? And remember they have the slots revenue and the total support of the Guv. Seems there have been many breakdowns during this leadership as well. I still see tons of complaints coming out of New York from all sides about the new management.

  • Edzepplin

    I am flummoxed over this.

  • Pop N Go

    Ding dong the witch is gone!!!! Joe’s days of trying to kill the Indiana breed program are done. I like what he has done on medication issues but he is very selective as to who he actually penalizes. Back stabbing at retrabution should be a fire able offence. ?????????

    • turffan

      What’s killing the Breeder’s Program in Indiana is the BREEDERS. A 20% of the gross purse breeder’s bonus, 10% Stallion bonus. Yet 95% of the stallions would be lucky to have a job as a teaser in KY & most of the breeders have invested almost NOTHING in upgrading their mares. There is almost no market for IN breds because of this, with the rare exceptions. Breeders are cutting their own throats.

      • Edzepplin

        An Indiana bred foal can be sired by out of state stallions. Your claim is not supported by fact.

        • turffan

          Yes it can be, I was referring to the in-state stallions. The kind that are bought for $1000.00 & stand for $2000.00. Not picking on any one stallion—they are all over the state. & just for the folks that don’t know, your maiden IN bred or IN bred & sired baby runs for a $30,000++ purse in races restricted to either. That’s a nice chunk of change for an award.

          • Pop n Go

            Maybe you should bring a good stallion here. If it weren’t for Gorajec we would have wonderful stallions and better mares here. But his “emergency rules” have killed the program with every rock he rubs on head. He killed sales by illuminating owners awards. Third string Churchill horses run for the same as our In Breds thanks to gorajec’s quality mandates. Good ridence. If Ky doesentbwNt to come up here fine with me

          • Why are all of the anti-Gorajec fanatics illiterate?

          • Is that really relevant?

          • Chancey Gardner

            Are you kidding?

          • Well I wasn’t, but no doubt you will expand on that?

          • Pop N Go

            Why do all the Gorajec fans live in other states?

          • Chuck Brown

            Love it..Think about it..

  • whatev

    Never been to Indiana, but from afar this guy has always impressed me as a bull in a china shop, a little too concerned with his own authority and not overly fond of due process. Sadly, racetrack managements are teeming with this type nowadays. It was nice of Ray to print his self-serving comments this one last time.

  • Pop N Go

    Come to think of it I haven’t seen team Valor or Casner horses racing in Indiana much. Can’t your trainers run without the extras you use in other states? Don’t see either of you sanding stallions or foaling out mares in Indiana either.

    • I had a horse entered today in Indiana that was entered MTO. Buy a Form. We race in Indian every year. One does not have to stand a stallion or breed a mare to support a star like Joe Gorajec. He is a national treasure.

      • Sunday Silence

        Barry,”National Treasure”??? Joe Hirsch, Penny Chenery & Secretariat were/are National Treasures…..

        • Tinky

          Joe Hirsch? Try Red Smith. I’d take Barney Nagler over Hirsch any day.

      • Horsechick

        Hahahaha…National Treasure…far from it.

      • Chuck Brown

        OHHH, you entered a horse in Indiana. You do so every year…So sorry now I understand. You gotta be right on top of Indiana Racing…

    • turffan

      You obviously don’t understand Valor’s or Casner’s business model. They are not into standing $ 500 stallions, which is what they would have to stand them for to get a decent book here. (most)Breeder’s here do everything on the cheap as far as spending money on quality stock goes.

      • Pop N Go

        Due to Gorajec’s screw ups with the breed program. You are correct.

  • Mindy McDowell Walker

    Joe is a no good piece of garbage that should have been gotten rid of years ago. Thank God for this news I certainly hope its followed through on.

  • Rick Samuels

    I would kindly suggest you all wait for the “real” truth to come out before getting all up in arms and supporting this one sided article. The state of Indiana has very good reasons for this. I have been a supporter of Mr. Gorajec, until a couple months ago, I found out about the “other side” of him. Although he has had some very good points as far as being a trendsetter and cracking down on cheaters, he also has violated several rules himself. He is not who you think he is. Other than, he has illegally and quietly changed rules to the commissions favor, has violated his own restrictions, knowingly disobeying commission protocol, secretly harboring a key witness in an ongoing investigation/legal battle, I will not yet elaborate, I just ask that you please wait for the reasons why he is being terminated. They are VERY troubling. This man has a VERY DARK SIDE. Remember when you liked OJ Simpson, revered Jerry Sandusky? I’m sure Ted Bundy at one time growing up was considered a nice man.

    • LongTimeEconomist

      Until such time as you enumerate specifics, your post is nothing but innuendo.

      • But there seems to be a lot of it. As my grannie said ” there’s aye some watter where the stirkie droons”. Might be better not to take any sides yet!

    • Horsechick

      Right on Rick!

    • RHF

      Exactly, Mr. Gorajec believes he is beyond reproach and untouchable, but there is finally a commission that recognizes that he isn’t and recognizes who he really is.

  • turffan

    Nice how you responded to Mr. Irwin, who uses his name,with a bunch of upvotes so your comment will be seen. There must be a reason you are on Joe’s bad side, for you to hate him so much, so Pop n go away.

    • Mindy McDowell Walker

      Got news for you. Joe is a monster in everyway. He sets out to destroy innocent people. I know Personally how cruel this man is and I’m using my real name

    • Pop N Go

      Actually I have been racing for nearly 30 years without so much as a warning letter. Never been fined, never had a racing infraction. Just a horse person that is willing to point out that Joe Gorajec is only a self serving political sycophant. Who would love nothing but to kill all horse racing and get rid of all of us “crooked horsemen and women” because we are too stupid to ever do anything right. He single handed, has worked to kill the breeding program here. He is unwilling to listen to the horsemen, generally going the complete opposite direction. Trying to make a living in this business with Joe in charge has been a uphill battle. Turffan you have no idea. You haven’t even heard from the standardbred people they hate him even more.
      We would all post with our names if we knew he had died, but the chance of him not being gone is too scary to all of us involved in Indiana racing. Joe is the most vindictive individual you will ever meet.

  • Edzepplin

    Law makers who passed pari mutual racing and slots at the track have recently been able to review analysis of the consequences of over regulation by the IHRC. Legislative leadership has realized the significant reduction of Equine racing industry Economic activity in Indiana since 2011 is directly correlated with the one project Ray for got to list on the talking points list. His ” quality of racing” initiative has decimated the Indiana foal crops since 2011 when he eliminated 50% of awards income potential for an Indiana bred. It is perhaps the largest blunder in state bred program history. His initiative was nothing more than a metaphor.

    • turffan

      The QoR was est. in 06. What did I miss in 2011? How did he take away 50% percent?? Were breeders asking for a bigger piece of the slots pie? I’m truly asking as someone who breeds. When I stood my 1st stallion (96′) the % was 5, breeders were 20. Now stallions are 10%. There was an owners award that has been incorporated into purses, which I thought was good(spread the wealth)

      • Edzepplin

        A common misconception is the award was rolled into the purses. It wasn’t. read the July 10 2010 IHRC transcript that approves the changes. From day one and for 14 straight years there were three awards. Owners, Breeders and stallion owners. The owners awards were eliminated before slot enhanced purses were just ramping up. It was designed to create value to end users looking for excellent return on investment potential IF your horse was good enough to win a race. 53 % of all foals born never win a race at any level in the U.S. so winning races isn’t easy. 3-4 % win stakes and less than 1 % win grade one stakes.

        • turffan

          The seperate owner award was gone well before 2010, without looking I’m guessing 05,06. My question was in regards to that 50% loss you spoke of. & how exactly did the QoR reduce foal crops?

          • Edzepplin

            The owner awards were continuous from the first official crop in 96 of the Indiana program. It was 20% at the time of its elimination on July 10th 2010 an is memorialized in Administrative code. This fact. Based on a 34000 race the owner award would be $6800 and the breeder award $6800. Lose one award and that is a reduction of 50% in earnings potential. Multiplied by winning three races lifetime and it could cost an owner $ 21,000.

          • turffan

            OK fine, I concede( to a point). But the seperate award was incorporated into purses much earlier which benefited all owners, 1st-last. & now there is a 40% purse bonus paid to the Owner, breeder & stallion owner on races won by IN breds who win in open company. That award/purse bonus Rewards breeding good horses. Which should be the goal anyhow. The Breeders must step up. This ain’t T-ball, where everybody should get a trophy.

          • Edzepplin

            Awards in Indiana are earned by winning races. The competition for purse and awards have increased the quality Indiana breds since your day. Indiana Sired horses and Indiana bred horses have won all around the US in the last several years including stake winners in KY and California. HRTV announcers have commented frequently about their competitiveness around the country as opposed to the first 8 years of this century. This in no entitlement program. In fact states like KY added Breeders awards like we have had in Indiana.

  • brussellky

    Everyone seems to already have their minds made up. Honestly, mine would be as well (on Gorajec’s side) were it not for an incident several years ago that I am aware of. A client of mine based outside of Indiana entered a horse in a stakes race at Indiana Downs. They accepted the entry and, as the trainer was going to saddle the horse personally, he made arrangements to get there several hours early to get his Indiana license. It poured down rain and the race was taken off the turf early in the morning. My client’s horse was the rare one that performed equally as well on dirt, looked like he would 1-5 on the dirt and, in fact, that is what he ultimately paid. Gorajec initially refused to issue the trainer a license over a positive he had that was overturned on appeal several years earlier in another state. The trainer then rattled off about a dozen licensed Indiana trainers that, unlike him, had served suspensions and paid fines for positives whereas he had never done so. Gorajec still refused until the trainer told him in no uncertain terms that he didn’t need Gorajec or Indiana and would make the matter public. Gorajec apparently either did not want someone from out of state to have a walkover for $100,000 or he didn’t want a 1-5 shot in the race (or both). Realizing he had no power over this trainer and that he was serious about making the matter public, Gorajec then gave him a temporary license, the horse galloped and neither the owner or trainer has been back to Indiana since. I think the moral of this story is that just because you are good at one part of your job does not mean you are doing a good job.

    • lastromantribune

      I guess the truth is always somewhere in between

    • Your story does not pass the smell test.

      • brussellky

        It is 100% true except for me being wrong on a couple of insignificant details. The purse was $80k, not $100k, and his odds did drift up to 4-5. If not for needing to maintain the privacy of my client, I could prove everything else I stated was true.

  • Mindy McDowell Walker

    If any of you know him personally there is simply no way you could defend him. He is one of the nastiest, cruel, human being I have ever met. His goal in life is to destroy people and careers. He is a LIAR on his best day…He is politically connected in a huge way and that is the only reason he has kept his job this long. It’s time to get rid of the trash. It’s time for a change in Indiana to someone who actually cares about the horseman. Who wants to make things right.

    • Chancey Gardner

      I think we got the gist the first time… ;-)

    • I know him and I like and respect him. And if he was politically connected he wouldn’t be about ready to lose his job.

      • Mindy McDowell Walker

        Well you couldn’t know him well. He is a monster, if hadn’t been politically connected he would have never lasted this long. He made it his life’s work to destroy peoples lives and more careers than I can count for no reason other than he could get away with it when ever he felt like it.

  • Judith Van Doren

    Possibly politicians want more control over the money generated in the field of horse racing, breeding, selling, etc. It is the natural order of fed govt too, to control, control, control. and anyone who will object to the govt or political control, will be ousted. We may see more of this action as time goes on and more and more thugs are installed in offices of power.

    • Chancey Gardner

      This is a STATE government matter, Judith… enough of the “federal government bad” rhetoric…. save it for a different venue.

      • Judith Van Doren

        Fed govt is one coming up with the national labs, etc. States will have their own regulations until fed govt takes over, even though Fwd claims they would only be seeing to a evenly regulated control of drugs. Give fed govt an inch they will take a mile. If all the states have same rules on drugs there would be no need for fed involved, but, it isn’t happening. and some are pushing for fed involvement, as they do not think national drug regulation will happen without fed controls. Don’t be so anxious to be so critical.

        • At least half of this issue with Joe is likely based on a perception from the Indiana racing commissioners that any adoption of the pending Federal legislation would marginalize their power. Joe Gorajec is in favor of national legislation and Indiana most likely is not.

        • Chancey Gardner

          That is a larger issue. We are discussion the dismissal of a regulator in the state of Indiana in this thread.
          BTW, the current state of racing, allowing the participants to “self-regulate” works about as well as putting the fox in charge of the hen house. Guess you are okay with that if they hand out some eggs from time to time.

      • Atta boy Chancey!

  • JustJoe

    Until I read this story I did not realize Indiana had any horse racing at all. I pity the sycophants that breed and race there.

    • merrill roberts

      Ray, for the record I like your web site, read it every day, As for Joe he means well but his zero tolerance has a lot to be desired.We also went from over one thousand mars
      a year to less then three hundred when we lost owners awards, plus we lost all good stallions why? because no buyers all the while about seventy percent of pures money is going out of state.Horse racing was suposed to be an economic development for the state of Indiana but instead it has been an economic development for other states.
      We have been bagging Joe for years to change his polices but it has always been his
      way or the hi way.

      • JustJoe

        Merrill, if Indiana backyard breeders want to run the track and the commission all you need to do is pony up the money, buy a track, hire some lobbyists and make some sizable political contributions. Then you can rule the roost. You can do away with drug testing altogether. Who needs it, you are all friends, no “bad boy” out if town people taking “your purse money”. Just write all Indiana bred or owned races then everybody will be happy.

        The only downside will be that no one will bet the races. But who cares, breeders could care less about horse players anyway.

  • RHF

    The Indiana Code that the Indiana Horse Racing Commission has cited as their authority to have a closed executive session is IC 5-14-1.5-6.1(b)(6). This aspect of the law is to consider the “individual’s alleged misconduct” behind closed doors which is at 9:30 AM on October 10th prior to what is a meeting for a public vote at 10:00 AM. All those who support Mr. Gorajec should attend this public meeting. Before you do, however, consider that you don’t have any idea what the “alleged misconduct” is. In fact, this article is incomplete without mentioning what is being alleged. Mr. Gorajec surely knows what is being alleged. Yet, either these allegations weren’t communicated to this publication or they weren’t included purposefully. I’m confident the allegations of misconduct aren’t that he’s done his job too well. When presented with these allegations of misconduct, Mr. Gorajec could have simply retired quietly. Instead, the media is now involved. In his mind, going to the media made perfect sense as Mr. Gorajec believes that he is never wrong and that the end justifies his means no matter what. For those of you blindly supporting Mr. Gorajec, does he still have your support IF he’s forged documents in a legal proceeding or coerced and intimidated witnesses? Meet me back here on this message string after Saturday, I’d love to hear your take then.

    • Dadnatron

      If that turns out to be the case, RHF, then I agree. I like what he has done with Illegal medications in Indiana, but I believe that he should be straight up with everything else as well. If he has done what you have stated, I will support his removal.

    • RayPaulick

      Not sure where you get your information, but Indianapolis Business Journal story quotes IHRC chairman saying replacing Gorajec is all about turning the executive director into more of a marketing specialist for Indiana racing and breeding. From the story: “Commissioners are frustrated with Gorajec for being too focused on enforcing regulations and not focused enough on marketing and promoting horse racing with the state, IHRC Chairman Thomas Weatherwax said.

      Nothing in the story about misconduct.

      • RHF

        Mr. Gorajec must have forgotten to mention that to you, huh?

      • morethanready

        Refusing to meet or speak with your boss is misconduct in my workplace.

    • Innuendo, selective choice of content, etc. You should be a political operative, because that is their stock in trade.

  • Chuck Brown

    Don’t agree. Joe has been very hard nosed about racing in Indiana. Has been a huge proponent of attracting outside stables to come to Indiana. Sending people himself also to felicitate and guarantee Trainers from other tracks to come to Indiana to race Stalls at Indiana Grand. All the while denying Trainers stalls from Indiana who hired local people, own land, buy products from Hoosiers such as hay Grain etc. Under the ruse of getting big stables in our state. Joe has hurt racing in Indiana by not trying to build up the Indiana program but by soliciting outside Stables to come here. Joe is a very difficult man to work with having an attitude that it’s my way or the highway. Not what Hoosiers need. Certainly integrity in our sport will continue but honestly that is easy to control. And no podium should be stood upon for this.

  • 4Bellwether666

    He’s up against a bunch of gangsters and anyway I would like to know who ever accused Horse racing of having one lick of integrity???…

  • LMerryman

    Bring him to Pennsylvania! We need you!

  • Guest

    Ray, more reporting and less editorializing please. There is obviously much more to this situation than simply firing Joe Gorajec for having “done too good a job for regulating horse racing.” I think that, good reporter that you are, you would be able to glean something explaining why Indiana authorities are having a closed-door meeting Saturday. I learned more from the comments to this article than I did from the editorial itself.

    • RayPaulick

      Both the chairman and vice chairman of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission were given opportunities to provide facts, and both declined.

    • Kevin Callinan

      So you are criticizing the editorial for editorializing! This platform is refreshing because of the many viewpoints based on facts- as we know them at the time. I may have a different opinion about this individual when/if the reasons for his termination are made public. At the moment, as a horseplayer/owner who likes the sport, I’d rather have a commission operating closer to IND’s and MD’s model than PA’s or NM’s.

  • Jessie baker

    Gorajec is sélective in who he enforces his rules upon and has let known Juicers in carte blanche either that or he really does not know what hes doing. He will witch hunt any who opposé him and will use his power to try and stop their livelyhood if thats not corruption i dont know what is Good riddance

    • Just curious, but why is it that nearly all of those complaining the loudest against Joe are illiterate?

      • Thoroughbred fan

        Barry;
        Seems to me that everyone here criticizing Joe is very effective at getting their message across. They could hardly be considered illiterate. Pretty sure illiterate means that they couldn’t read the Paulick Report. I’m a loud critic of Joe myself. I’m pretty sure I’m not illiterate. Get a grip.
        Clara Fenger, DVM, PhD, DACVIM

      • morethanready

        While it is true some of the posters have not made a living as a writer their passion and disdain is clear. I am beginning to believe it is well meant. By acting insubordinate with his boss and ignoring very poor foal numbers he seems to be confirming their description of a man who feels he answers to no one.

        • Chancey Gardner

          One of them is very vocal on another online venue, and I find his comments there to be irrational, reactionary and full of vitriol about any criticism of the current status quo in racing.

      • Chuck Brown

        Because I’m an Electrical Engineer (retired). We Trainers spend more time in the barn than studying Grammar. Being as you say illiterate does not mean a fool.

  • Anonymous for obvious reasons

    Although I won’t give my name(Joe has proven to be more than a tad vindictive with those that criticize him), here’s another point of view on Joe Gorajec: He has set himself up as judge and jury on more than one questionable call. He suspended a trainer on the word of a security guard who claimed that she saw a horse treated, illegally, on race day. This despite the fact that the barns at Indiana Downs can easily be confused when one is walking into them.(Anyone who has spent time on the backside has probably done this, since they are identical and sit in a line.) Further, there was a horse being treated one barn over, legally,(in the same stall number) at the time the security guard claimed to have witnessed the event. Further, she described the horse as being held by a female groom, when in fact the trainer in question did not employ any females. It also should be mentioned that this same security guard, a young woman, was known to walk the barn area with headphones on, and literally could not spell”horse” on her report.(hoarse) : )
    He also suspended, for 3 years, a trainer whose horse showed a positive(at a trace level) of Ritalin, when in fact the trainer’s child was proscribed the drug. And Ray, let’s not forget that cross contamination and minute levels of drugs have been detected in bedding, on halters, and on the hands of grooms as testing gets more specific.
    The stewards at Indiana are instructed to pass any application, trainer , groom, exercise rider, owner, on to Gorajec if they have any prior convictions, no matter how minor. I actually had the pleasure of being in a hearing as an observer where Gorajec sat like a petulant child, with his arms crossed, complaining about an email that someone had sent the previous winter criticizing him.
    He even went so far as to give immunity to trainers who had horses come up with bad tests, in return for their “rolling over ” on a vet. I could go on, but when people like you(who I’m told consider Gorajec as a friend-and the inherent bias that goes along with that)defend him, you essentially say that you believe everybody cheats, and Joe’s just here to clean up the game.Alas, this just shows your ignorance about trace level testing for therapeutic meds, which have no race day effect on the horse.
    If he’s fired or resigns(cheers either way), I, along with a vast majority of those IN THE GAME, can only hope and pray that he goes and sells shoes somewhere. By the way, I’ve never had a bad test as a trainer, nor any kind of ruling against me, so the sour grapes argument doesn’t hold any water here. And finally, if the game is as dirty as people like you imply, why would anyone want to be in it ? Good riddance Joe.

    • Chancey Gardner

      Why? Because cheaters can make a whole pile of money.

    • Mindy McDowell Walker

      AMEN!!!

    • Christina Estvanko

      I need to correct a few things in this comment. It was mine and my husbands barn where the barn walker reported seeing an alleged race day administration and did not report it until full day later. When she reported it she said it was a Spanish man holding a horse and we in fact didn’t employee any Spanish men. My husband and I did all the work ourselves. When she reported it she had to re-walk the barn area three times before she could figure out which barn she thought she saw the vet in the previous day. And yes in her written report she misspelled the word horse multiple times. When myself and another security guard made jokes about the girls inability to spell, I was summarily suspended for intimidating a witness. I never even spoke to this girl!
      My husband is also the trainer that got suspended for the Ritalin positive. Conveniently that positive came about three days after we declined the “deal” Joe was offering us to drop our appeal about the case from the alleged race day administration. When we declined his deal he began harassing us and our employees. Then informed us of the positive test. It is true that our son is on the medication, I gave it to him every morning before he went to school in our kitchen at our home. Our son never came in contact with the horse with a positive test, it was well known that he was vicious and had bitten off a persons thumb and savaged several others. My husband was that horses sole caretaker. It is just not possible that our son caused the horse to get a positive test. We believe the sample was contaminated by someone in the test barn or the lab (whether it was intentional or not I do not know). The reason we think this is because there was a second positive test for Ritalin in Indiana just before ours. That test was not prosecuted because it was not found by the primary lab it was found by the audit lab. When we asked for them to tell us who had the other positive so we could compare feed/supplements/personnel handling our samples, we were told that they could not tell us that information. Also according to the chain of custody form our horses urine was not even sent to the lab, we were told that was a clerical error. Solely due to financial constraints, we took a settlement agreement in this case because we did not have the money to pay an attorney to fight it. My husband is suspended 18 months and can’t apply for a license in Indiana for 3 years. Before everyone starts calling my husband a cheater I’ll have you know he has had a trainers license for 30 years and never had a positive test.
      The reason we were targeted by Joe… I was Dr. Ross Russell’s assistant for 2 years and Joe wants nothing more than to add Ross’ head to his collection. He thought by putting pressure on us I would tell him whatever he wanted to hear to try to bring Dr. Russell down. In fact had one of his goons call me last year because he wanted to “interview” me about Dr. Russell. She told me, “Joe is willing to offer you leniency with what you have going on depending on what you have to tell him”, I informed them that I didn’t feel comfortable attending an interview alone with Joe and I would only come if I could bring an HBPA representative with me. They declined to allow me to have anyone with me and cancelled the interview.
      These are just a few examples of the way Joe Gorajec operates. Anyone who is on here defending him obviously has not spent time in Indiana or spoke with any of the horseman that I’ve had to endure his reign.

      • Horsechick

        Everyone that is supporting Joe Gorajec, just so you know, this is just an example of the standard operating procedure for this evil, vindictive man. The same rules do not apply to all horsemen when they should, unfortunately it depends on which horsemen he has it out for. This has been going on for years. The reason why every one of his rulings have held up in court is because the average horseman does not have the funds to spend on hours and hours for an attorney to fight him, so they settle or make a deal with the devil. Joe seems to have an endless supply of dollars and attorneys to get his “win” and he will go to any length to accomplish that. I can only imagine the thousands and thousands of dollars he has wasted to get his “convictions” and cares nothing about facts. Joe loves to use the word integrity when he has ZERO.

        • Mindy McDowell Walker

          Amen Horsechick , Myself and my husband spent to many thousands fighting him ultimately to only gain the right to leave the state if we wanted to work in the horse racing industry. We were proven guilty of nothing and yet my husband was denied license in Indiana and his job taken away when he had never been in trouble for one single thing. Never written up or reprimanded for any reason and there investigation showed he was guilty of nothing. Typical Joe move when he sets his sits on destroying someone.

  • Sal Carcia

    It is refreshing to see someone in the horseracing community (Ray P) stand up for someone who is doing a lot of good for the industry. In the end, the industry has to stand up for itself.

  • Ben van den Brink

    It seems that MR Weatherwax earned some sagamore,s over the due course of time.

    These sagamores are earned by people who have done some special things to the community.

    Mr Corajec is dooiing an hell off a job for the horse community, to clean up the house.

    Mr Weatherwax should talk with mr Corajec for getting advice and wisdom and not for firing him

  • Kevin Callinan

    The responses here prove that the agendas of the individuals in the game are far more important to them than preserving the overall integrity of the product. The ‘referee’ is always going to have critics but in a successful sport the referee’s judgment will be supported for the good of the game. Horse Racing has not survived the scrutiny of social media. PA wishes the internet didn’t exist and they could operate in a vacuum. If indeed there is just cause to fire this individual for conduct and he is offered a fair hearing- there isn’t much to say, he had the job for 25 years. However, if this all about politics and moving out somebody because he has suspended their crony, please don’t think that is getting swept under the rug.

    • Chancey Gardner

      Well, they certainly could help by making it public knowledge as to why he is being dismissed/asked to resign. One questions secrecy.

  • renosablast

    So, Pop n go, in case you hadn’t noticed your opinion is in the extreme minority here, and it couldn’t be more obvious that you have run afoul of rules and regulations with Joe. Playing the “business we love” and “our livelihood” and “lifestyle” cards are a lame attempt to justify not playing by the rules. If you are looking for sympathy, try an unabridged dictionary between “sh_t” and “syphilis”.

    • Mindy McDowell Walker

      You sound like exactly the same type of person Joe is, someone who knows nothing and just sets out to hurt someone

    • Pop N Go

      Ok asswipe, I have been in this game since the late 70’s, never had a fine, racing violation, warning, ruling or anything close to a racing infraction. Joe is the worst of the worst. You haven’t got a clue of who we are talking about.

  • Chancey Gardner

    thank you – hopefully, a reporter or two will attend

  • Mindy McDowell Walker

    Amen!

  • RHF

    Why does anyone expect Chairman Weatherwax to give you details of a Human Resources matter that your not entitled to have? Mr. Gorajec knows those details, so ask him.

    • RHF

      He’s cellphone number is 317-694-6229

  • How can you expect to be taken seriously when you cannot spell or compose a simple sentence?

  • DeniseSteffanus

    When I was researching my cobalt story for TRAINER magazine, Mr. Gorajec was very helpful because he was supremely concerned about the welfare of the horse and the integrity of Indiana racing. One of the trainers who had high cobalt levels in his horses — before the limits were imposed — told me he had dirt on Gorajec. I asked him to produce evidence instead of allegations and inuendo. That was the last I heard from him.

  • Edzepplin

    Well. It has been enjoyable debating the pros and cons of Mr. Joe Gorajec . If you are not happy with today’s IHRC decision, don’t come to Indiana or bet Indiana races in protest. We will keep our side of the street clean and you should keep your side of the street clean. I take nothing personal and I hope you don’t also. That is all I have to say about that .

  • Chuck Brown

    This all a bunch a crap. Just like the news. Paulick takes down any comments negative towards the Joe, we trainers know and disapprove of in the Great State of Indiana. Ray I’m ashamed of you for this. Knowing Joe has leaked you information in the past about his great so called work. Why don’t anyone talk to Indiana Horse people. I don’t know a single horsemen who thinks Highly of Joe in our State. Should be called Paulick NBC.

    • RayPaulick

      No negative comments in this thread toward Joe Gorajec? You’re kidding, right?

  • heatman

    He is a serious meglamaniac. He must go, and should be put in an asylum

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