‘I’d Throw the Guy Out’: Meadowlands’ Decisive Action Lacking in Thoroughbred Racing

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Harness racing at the Meadowlands Harness racing at the Meadowlands

On the afternoon of March 1, a horse van carrying three Standardbreds from a private training center entered to race that evening at Meadowlands racetrack pulled into a service area along the New Jersey Turnpike. A man went into the back of the van and emerged a few minutes later with a paper bag that he tossed into a nearby trash container.

The brief “rest stop” was witnessed by Brice Cote, a former detective with the New Jersey State Police’s Racetrack Unit who now works for Meadowlands owner Jeffrey Gural as head of track security. Cote, who has a Standardbred racing background, had his suspicions about the occupants of the vehicle and decided to tail them that afternoon. He retrieved the paper bag from the trash and discovered used syringes inside that he later found out had been filled with therapeutic drugs permitted for training but not legal on race day.


The three horses – Abelard Hanover, Twinscape, and Doin Time Together – were scratched from that night’s program. Two trainers, Marvin Callahan (who emerged from inside the van with the paper bag) and Alvin Callahan, were told by track management they were no longer welcome to race at Meadowlands. The Callahans joined a growing list of horsemen that have been kicked off the grounds for suspected cheating.

Gural took swift and decisive action in this and previous cases because, as he puts it, “I didn’t spend $100 million to provide a place for dishonest people to race horses.” I spoke with Gural last week after a bomb was dropped on the Thoroughbred racing industry by the radical animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

PETA did the same thing as Gural’s head of security: surveillance. The organization planted a female employee inside the barn of Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen, equipped her with a high-tech hidden camera for four months, and compiled video tape and notes that were then brought to New York Times reporter Joe Drape. Drape’s article and PETA’s 9 1⁄2-minute videotape have turned the industry on its ear.

We can argue about whether or not the video or notes confirm “cruelty,” as PETA has charged in formal complaints to state and federal officials. We can argue about whether PETA, while wanting ethical treatment of animals, was unethical in its undercover investigation and compilation from four months of video of a nine-and-a-half-minute tape.

I think we can all agree this was a devastating development that has brought the biggest public relations challenge horse racing has seen in a very long time. Charges of animal cruelty and cheating could bring the sport to its knees.

I don’t know how Jeff Gural feels about animal welfare issues, though it is obvious he detests cheating. I asked him about Asmussen, who was barely visible in the PETA video, playing second fiddle to Scott Blasi, the stable’s chief assistant. Blasi, who was relieved of his duties two days after publication of the New York Times story, comes across in the video as a potty-mouthed lout who bragged about unethical or illegal activities, unaware every word he was saying could wind up on Youtube.

What, I asked Gural, would you do about Steve Asmussen?

“I’d throw the guy out, 100 percent,” he said. “I wouldn’t even think twice about it.”

Gural testified at a 2012 Senate hearing on drugs in racing

Gural testified at a 2012 Senate hearing on drugs in racing

Thoroughbred racing has no one like Gural, no one who is willing to be swift and decisive in looking out for the best interests of the game.

Instead, we get packaged statements from weak-kneed organizations and their hand-wringing leaders who are less worried about the consequences of doing nothing and more worried about overreacting, hoping against hope that this whole sordid mess will go away quietly.

There were, after all, no allegations of illegal doping. But what came across on this edited PETA video is a culture – at least in one very high-profile stable – that it’s okay to load horses up on medication and continue to train and race them when rest would be a better solution. That it’s okay to try and fool the state veterinarian by masking a horse’s lameness to get past a pre-race examination. That it’s okay to use an electrical stimulating device on a horse that is as illegal as it is inhumane.

That’s all hearsay, right? It’s evidence from an extremist group with an agenda and it would never hold up in a court of law.

But what about the court of public opinion?

“The perception of our sport is so negative,” Gural said. “I think we had driven all the honest people out of harness racing. At least that’s what people think.”

Gural’s actions, showing the door to drivers and trainers he is convinced are either cheating or dishonest, has brought life back to a dying game – at least at his track. Unfortunately, horsemen run off by Meadowlands are welcomed with open arms elsewhere.

Gural is not waiting for a racing commission to take action on cheaters, nor allowing them to control all the drug testing. To compete at the Meadowlands, trainers have to sign an agreement that allows the track to conduct out of competition testing, even if the horses are stabled at private, off-track facilities. Samples are sent to the best labs in the world, not those designated by the state’s racing commission. The discovery of sky-high levels of performance enhancing cobalt by the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s testing lab led to several private property ejections of Meadowlands trainers. “If you race in New Jersey you know exactly what they are testing for,” he said, “but if I send a sample to Hong Kong, they have no idea.”

Gural is trying to show the horsemen that it’s his track, his game – not theirs.

“The thought that a guy would have the nerve to pull over in a rest stop and do that to his horses on the way to the track is really something,” Gural said, “and he’s probably not the only one doing that. But I think I’ve got these guys on the run.”

You would think someone in Thoroughbred racing would have noticed what Gural has been doing, but not a single racetrack executive has called to ask him about it. Not one.

“It’s very disappointing,” he said.

So, in the wake of the PETA disclosures, as racing commissions conduct their investigations and industry organizations craft position statements and express concerns, the sport is left cruelly twisting in the wind. This is the price we pay for having no structure, no leadership, no strong-willed men and women of principle willing to take a stand.

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  • SusanKayne

    HANDS DOWN BEST PIECE OF JOURNALISM I HAVE READ ON THIS MATTER. RAY YOU ARE RIGHT ON …. AS ALWAYS.

  • dave

    Excellent, Ray. The conspiracy of silence within the industry has been troubling me as well. Everyone seems to admit that this stuff goes on, but no one ever reports it to the authorities. Omerta, indeed.

    I often think back of how Judge Landis eliminated the throwing of baseball games after the Black Sox scandal. It wasn’t so much that he threatened to ban anyone that threw a game. It was that he also threatened to ban any player “that sits in a conference … where the ways and means of throwing ball games are planned … and does not promptly tell his club.” He made knowledge of an intent to cheat just as punishable as cheating itself.

    The sport needs a Judge Landis moment. Those who commit crimes of “moral turpitude”, i.e. a clear intent to cheat, should be banned for life. Those that knew about, but failed to report it, should face sanctions as well.

    • Jay Stone

      That’s where federal oversight comes in. The intent
      Is all that is needed to invoke the Rico Act. If you organize wrongdoing or are involved in it you pay the price. You don’t have to perpetuate the deed yourself.

  • david

    Two thumbs up Ray! Great article!

  • Jay Stone

    What anyone who has watched Gural for the last year prays for is his clone to show up and take over thoroughbred racing. The man is single handedly trying to change an entrenched culture. Cheating in standardbred racing is part of the sport and he is the savior of the game. He puts his money where his mouth is and the results are encouraging. His problem and thoroughbred racing’s problem is that his actions are not copied by other harness tracks. If this was done by a thoroughbred track it would be great but until all tracks are on the same page and the same rules apply everywhere it won’t work. Thus we are back to one enforcement group making the rules and enforcing them.

    • togahombre

      This man is a leader, if it wasn’t racing , whatever it might have been he still would be making an impact, he has vision, courage and conviction, along with alot of determination, qualities not usually found in bureaucratic sheep

  • crookedstick

    Face it the horses are pawns in the game. The name of the game is WIN. The horses from cradle to the grave are meat. Nothing more , nothing less.

    • Susan Crane-Sundell

      If we just keep accepting that we deserve to have our sport legislated and publically heckled and shamed out of existence.

    • south florida tom

      That’s true only for the small percentage of rotten apples in the game. Most horse people treat their horses with respect.

  • GreggJ

    Bravo Mr. Paulick, every word perfectly stated.

  • Boknows

    Great Article and so very true Ray! To many Chiefs and not enough Indians! We need no Federal Government involvement, it would be even a Bigger Mess! It needs to be done from with in with someone given the power to do it, with out any questions! Maybe the pressure that is being applied now will force the Powers that be hands! We will see..

  • Knowitall

    “I’d throw the guy out…I wouldn’t even think twice…”
    And there you have it.

    But in Thoroughbred land, the story has been yanked down the page at DRF and TBH, as the old boy’s club waits for it to blow over. Good luck with that…

    • nu-fan

      That’s exactly what they are banking on: That it will blow over. After all, how many times have these kinds of incidents played out and with plenty of people demanding action? It just blows over. Things are forgotten and people move on. Let’s hope that this will be the one time that people will not forget and that those in the industry will show some backbone and make the much needed changes. If not, perhaps, we can get the federal government involved….

      • End horse abuse

        Support the federal Interstate Horse Racing Safety Act and have drug testing, and uniform rules and penalties overseen by the United States Anti-Doping Association.

      • pink bikini silks

        Maybe people would take this particular incident more seriously if it hadn’t come from PETA (basically an eco-terrorist type group) and the NY Times (a biased relic of the old media who mostly write articles to impress themselves and other media elites.) In flyover country, if it’s not on the Drudge Report, Fox News or ESPN, it’s not news.
        That said, reforms in horse racing should be made because it was the right thing to do all along, not just because of a PETA video. I bet about 99% of America doesn’t even know this thing actually happened.

        • Thoroughbred Watch Dog

          If anyone has been watching CNN’s coverage of the missing Malaysian airliner, they know for sure that’s it’s happened…it’s been scrolling at the bottom as part of their news feed.

          • pink bikini silks

            Well considering that CNN’s rating are not much to write home about, that’s not really saying a lot. And I hate to have to say this cause I feel bad for the horses & owners, but I’m secretly hoping none of Asmussen’s horses even make it to the Oaks or Derby.

          • diastu in tempe

            CNN’s ratings have soared during their coverage of the missing plane and the search. So – it got attention.

        • Bellwether

          The 50% of the country that read do…Thank goodness…ty…

        • Gayle Meyers

          Wait until the first Saturday in May – they will be informed.

        • LL

          It made the TV news here.

          • ginger2000

            Good!! I hope more stations pick it up.

      • Bellwether

        This isn’t going to blow over & the Fed is Hip to all the BS that is going on…ty…

  • Murphy

    Great article, if everyone was like Gural this sport would grow beyond any expectations.

    • Bellwether

      The Gospel!!!…ty…

  • kathy

    The negligence of NJRC track veterinarians permitting lame horses to race, several who had catastrophic injuries on the racetrack (some which were claimed) as well as a horse that entered the paddock with blood streaming out of its right nostril and was permitted to race, was brought to the attention of the attorney general in NJ as well as the head of the commission Zanzuccki. Nothing was done. This is the state of racing, the ‘ol boys network that prevails and incompetent veterinarians.

    • Susan Crane-Sundell

      Those are not INCOMPETENT veterinarians, those are DISHONEST or weak willed veterinarians. There’s a big difference.They seem very competent at looking the other way. So afraid of not working for trainers instead of standing up for the horses and treating them ethically and responsibly.

      • End horse abuse

        Indeed, you are right. If veterinarians simply did the right thing for the horses they treat, we’d see a huge and immediate improvement in the sport and far fewer breakdowns.

        Trainers are the users and veterinarians on the backstretch are the dealers.

      • guest

        Track veterinarians do not work for trainers. They work for and are paid by either the track management or the state, depending upon the racetrack. If you’re really interested in seeing what happens when track veterinarians are not allowed to do their jobs properly, generally under threat of losing their jobs, read the report on the NYS Gaming website about Aqueduct. Track veterinarians should never feel pressure by track management or stewards to fill races, yet this happens every day.

      • kathy

        Yes Susan, the majority of the NJRC track veterinarians are incompetent. Just ask any jockeys, outriders and harness drivers/trainers. It is a well known fact. In fact, two jockeys had reported that they took lame horses up to the track veterinarian at the starting gate and were told, “they will make it around” as she walked away. Terrible what goes on there due to incompetence/negligence.

        • betterthannothing

          As I just posted above, a national tip center must be created to collect names and cruel, fraudulent and life-threatening actions. The lives of riders and horses are knowingly being endangered. Horseplayers are knowingly being cheated. This needs to stop and miscreants need to be severely punished, fired and banned as needed, vet licenses lost.

          • guest

            There is a national tip center! It has existed for many years:

            Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau
            Integrity Hotline: 866-847-8772

            “If you suspect or know of any wrongdoing within the racing
            community call toll-free. All calls
            are treated confidentially and you may remain anonymous.”

          • ginger2000

            Keyword: wrongdoing. The problem is so many things are legal. Technically it is not wrongdoing. The corruption starts at the top – where these things are allowed to be legal.

          • Gayle Meyers

            Yep. As many point out: Assmusen didn’t do anything illegal.

        • Jay Stone

          A lot of track vets lack actual track experience and are
          competent but lack practical experience like a good doctor who goes through years of residency and internship before he practices on his own.

        • we’re watching

          Horsemen better do a more expert job at running a track in NJ then if this is the case.

    • blikemike

      If you had stated both nostril it would be more plausible!

      • kathy

        Actually, not quite true. Blood out of one nostril walking into the paddock, blood all over horse identifiers hand wiping towel, blood evident to us, the spectators standing on the rail pure negligence in the welfare of the racing animals.

        • blikmike

          So not only did the vet let this horse race, also the identifier, paddock judge, other trainers and jocks saw “blood streaming out his right nostril” and this horse still RACED! BTW I would assume as the horse warmed up the pony person would have noticed this. Also the out-ride would have noticed this. Oh and how about the gate crew guys. I guess they didn’t see this either. Stop with the vicious accusations… One more thing, how did the said horse race???

  • Ian Howard

    Asmussen has become a tipping point for what can be tolerated and the industry needs to seek out and remove those individuals who have brought the industry to the brink of ruin.

    Now the major players in the business like Coolmore, Winstar, Stonestreet, and others need to publicly declare a zero tolerance for the veterinary practices that have put an entire industry at risk. It is no longer acceptable to hide behind the weak excuse” I didn’t know”. Lets see who steps forward because ignorance is no longer an excuse.

    • for love of the horse

      SOOOOOOOO RIGHT

      • Ray’sGhost

        Asmussen needs to do time in a federal pen and I think he might just.

        • vinceNYC

          For what Ray….

    • ny thoroughbred owner-breeder

      Maybe Gural’s ability to throw out trainers found illegally medicating their horses is a good reason for NYRA tracks to go private . The NYRA long term planning committee is supposed to make recommendations about this in April 2015. Flay and Dubb are leaders on this committte.

      • Jay Stone

        NYRA will eventually be privatized but it’s years away. Action needed before this but when it happens who ends up with it will be a major step forward for racing or backwards. The best scenario would be Stronach or a consortium of wealthy, progressive owner businessmen.

        • Hamish

          Mr. Stronach has been interested in owning/controling the New York racing franchise for many years. I think he sees value, domestically in a properly produced racing product, mass distribution of the NYRA signal on an international basis, and the resurrection of New York City Off Track Betting. Frank’s Magna Entertainment Corp bid $250 million or so and was actually awarded the NYCOTB by Mayor Guliani in the early 2000′s, but it had to be sanctioned in Albany, and it was not. If the NYRA is available for sale by Governor Cuomo’s new board, I’d look for Frank to be in the hunt.

          • Jay Stone

            Hamish, his original proposal might have been torpedoed by a bad mix of other partners. On his own he would be formidable

          • Hamish

            Agree on both counts.

    • vinceNYC

      So Ian , serious question.
      I think we all agree that this has been going on for decades…from Oscar Barrera to Pete Ferriola to modern day wonder trainers like Ness and Navarro……FYI Asmussen barely hits at 20 %…….so here is the question………..given that field sizes , particularly in CA are at an all time low , by eliminating therapeutic medication , how would you address even more shrinking of field sizes?…………………..

      • diastu in tempe

        If I may: Field sizes would shrink futher at first. But I sincerely believe that leveling the playing field and kicking out the abusers would bring honest owners and trainers back, especially the smaller barns, as well as promote newcomers to take another look at racing.

        • vinceNYC

          1) Honest trainers is an oxymoron
          2) There has ALWAYS been , for lack of a better term , cheating.
          3) Owners are in the business to try to make money…..why do you think the cheaters have so many clients.

  • Belinda W

    Why can’t Gural please, pretty please, run a Thoroughbred meet? Honestly, I kind of wonder why Stronach doesn’t take this type of approach……..

    • Hamish

      Mr. Stronach certainly has quite a large vested interest. Breeding farms, racing stables, racetracks, tote company, betting platform, 50% HRTV, (probably missed something) and the chutzpah to lead us to a new way forward. Say what you will about the man, pro or con, but folks that know him say he loves his horses and the sport, so let’s see what happens. Whatever Cuomo’s new NYRA turns out to be when re-privitized, may be another likely player in the new world order of racing. Churchill Downs may need to tag along as the KY Derby is surely meaningful to our horse racing heritage. Parcel out drug testing and adjudication to a 3rd party independent group like USADA, and sanction all this with a federal law with national standards and real enforcement teeth, then we are off to the races!

      • Belinda W

        That is exactly why I was wondering. Stronach has said the following and even requested help from state racing commissions in phasing out race day meds: “I really believe it is not necessary to have raceday medications. In most parts of the world, they do not allow it. And we have already seen the Breeders’ Cup just come out in support of this same measure. We all know when horses race, they should race sound and not on medications which mask things. Everybody knows that’s the right thing to do, but up to this point nothing has been done about it.”
        Now if only perhaps he would get his racing secretaries to write some drug free races I’d be duly impressed.
        Thanks Hamish for an excellent reply.

        • Gayle Meyers

          And when the Breeder’s Cup tested the waters of banning Lasix for the 2 year old races, Pletcher’s big owner threw a hissy fit and boycotted the BC, and Baffert’s owners SUED the Bredder’s Cup! What can Stronach do? Hmmmmm… and we have to wonder who the cheaters are? I think not.

  • Sal Carcia

    So, there are no illegal immigration violations in the game. Not many trainers use legal drugs loosely. Buzzers are unheard of. We got the bad apple. Get rid of him and all is well.

    I don’t think this is really going to help here. Gural made his beliefs known and then enforces them. Thoroughbred racing needs to do the same. But, it won’t.

    Asmussen and Blasi are not outliers here. They are just responding to the business pressures of the game. It’s not an excuse. It’s just widespread.

    • guest

      Make an example out of obvious problem trainers and most of the rest will fall into line. Repeat as necessary.

      • Sal Carcia

        Yes! The problem is systemic. The financial pressures run up and down the organization (as loosely based as it is). There is no check and balance here.

      • betterthannothing

        The falling in line will happen much faster if owners and vets are punished as well.

      • Bellwether

        Throw jail/prison in the mix and see how quick they fall in line…ty…

        • Jay Stone

          Correct assumption. A federal prison term of 1 year would get everybody’s attention as opposed to a state penalty of 30 days that takes 18 months to adjudicate.

  • Danny Gonzalez

    Jeffs a great person have had several meeting with him in the past. He did take a hit on entries when he started doing this.

  • Hoops and Horses

    This is EXACTLY why I keep bringing up Jeff Gural as someone Thoroughbred Racing should look at into what can be done into cleaning up the sport. What Mr. Gural has done since he took over The Meadowlands needs to be followed by Thoroughbred track.

    • Jay Stone

      It is followed closely by some but the powers that be are afraid of his model especially with entry boxes being empty. I think the Stronach Group would be the best place to start but once again entries being light creates a problem if you throw out undesirables.

      • Hoops and Horses

        You may have to deal with light entries and abbreviated race weeks for a while if the end result means more horsemen long-term coming to your track because you don’t tolerate cheating and horsemen have a better chance with a level playing field.

        Another case of short-term pain for long-term gain.

        • Bellwether

          TY…

        • Jay Stone

          Totally agree and would love to see one track break away from stereotype and be the first

  • Susan Crane-Sundell

    Thank you Ray and thank you Mr. Gural for having a backbone, pooling and “harnessing” your resources and being innovative. Care to start some seminars? As a wise man once said, “throw the bums out” !

  • Kim MacArthur (Anita Xanax)

    Ray, thank you again for bringing us the thoughts and ideas of a man who is MAKING it work. This can be done and in short order with people like Mr.Gural at the helm. I’d throw him out too, sir.

  • Sinking Ship

    “The thought that a guy would have the nerve to pull over in a rest stop and do that to his horses on the way to the track is really something,” Gural said, “and he’s probably not the only one doing that. But I think I’ve got these guys on the run.”
    Too bad Gural wasn’t in charge when Mike Gill and his henchmen were running amok.

  • betterthannothing

    Great article. Mr. Gural is a great track owner and trailblazer!

    “Unfortunately, horsemen run off by Meadowlands are welcomed with open arms elsewhere.”

    Racing deserves its bad reputation.

    • blikemike

      So right! These Gas trainers( cobalt,thyroxine, epo, shocking and milk shaking the day of the race) run amok in Harness racing. Mr Gural is doing everything he can to rid this slime from the Mdls. Sadly they are welcome at Yonkers, Pocono, and Chester. Keep up the fight Jeff, hopefully soon these other owners will see the light.

  • brian m

    What a relief to read something honest and even encouraging about horse racing. Well, at least to me it is encouraging that there are still people who want an honest and respectable game/sport.

    When I read Steven Crist’s response to the PETA allegations in the Daily Racing Form, I literally felt sick to my stomach. I love horse racing and to see the editor of a supposed ‘news’ publication about the sport write something so obviously self-serving and subservient to his owners and sponsors (and connections) interests was really sad. I almost felt sorry for him.

    The problem with thoroughbred racing is almost all the tracks are now owned bu casino corporations or those trying to become casinos. They are now run like casinos where the whole goal is to manipulate the public into losing more money. It is no longer a sport with parimutuel betting. They manipulate the races, the odds, and the outcomes to take more from bettors. This is not a conspiracy theory. It is true. Does anyone remember when there were not 3 or 4 carryovers a week in the Pick 6? It was before the current owners started manipulating everything (or allowing it to be done by racing secretaries, trainers and jockeys to increase handle. Drugs are just a symptom of the entire lack of integrity.

    It would take a private owner to actually want to do anything. Oaklawn and Tampa are the only two privately owned tracks I can think of that are even possibilities for cleaning up the sport. That’s why they were the last two hold-outs on the rebate and whale ADWs that funnel all the money from the on track fans and the inidividuals betting on-line at home to the large investors that the other tracks have completely sold out to.

    I hope people read this article and start demanding change.

    • guest

      Tampa would have to clean house up in the management ranks before starting to do anything meaningful about cleaning up racing.

    • Jay Stone

      Tampa bad spot to look for reform. Oaklawn, gold standard in how to do things right, Stronach is potentially the elephant in the room and could carry this out but he needs meaningful rules and regulations to help back him up

  • Peyton

    I don’t think this will post because I am not registered. BUT in order to change it’s as simple as a bettor boycott. Not all will join in, but if for say we that would like change decided to make “Thursday” boycott day then tracks would see a drop in their handle. Maybe if Derby Day was boycotted. Anyway, that’s the answer in my opinion. Reduced handle, reduced profit for tracks.

  • Alydar

    Outstanding!!! Well said!!!

  • SteveG

    Very well crafted piece, Ray. And, I’m glad you mentioned this:

    “Instead, we get packaged statements from weak-kneed organizations and their hand-wringing leaders who are less worried about the consequences of doing nothing and more worried about overreacting, hoping against hope that this whole sordid mess will go away quietly.”

    That’s the disease – the powers that be with their collective hands off the wheel as racing goes in the ditch. Not individual trainers, assistants, corrupt vets and their ilk – they are simply rather ugly symptoms. Just like in medicine, if the disease is left to advance, treating symptoms is ultimately futile.

    Not to be a cynic or overly pessimistic, but unless there is a collective epiphany at the top, the chances for self-reform are nil. I hope I’m wrong. Less pessimistically, perhaps a leading jurisdiction, even one, will overhaul the fundamentals of meds, vets, trainers and business as usual in their own bailiwick & experience a revival. Then, others may follow.

    Otherwise, and as much as there are inherent drawbacks here as well, the sport should be legislated into another form by turning what is currently a revised Horseracing Act that I believe is still languishing in committee into law. I think it’s fair to say, if we don’t do it (overhaul the fundamentals) somebody else will. Apologies to Dr. John.

    • david

      Not to be a cynic or overly pessimistic, but unless there is a
      collective epiphany at the top, the chances for self-reform are nil.

      Agree with that sentiment Steve but I think it’s going to be hard for racing’s leadership (now there’s an oxymoron) to ignore what will come. Can you imagine what the Oaks and Derby telecasts will be like if Asmussen’s got Tapiture and Untappable? God forbid he should win??

      Like everything in this game change will be slow but I think it will happen. Now whether or not it happens fast enough to stave the inevitable winding down of slots subsidies (and racetrack closures to follow) is another matter. Ten years from now I can see us being on more solid ground but the next few years are going to be a blood bath. Personally I have told my advisers I won’t be purchasing any yearlings until 2016 at the earliest so I can get a feel for where this will all settle out.

      • SteveG

        Ha, oxymoron, indeed. :)
        Agreed, very difficult for racing’s leadership to ignore given PETA’s intent to splash this to the public at large (who normally don’t care a whit about racing but will take up arms for horses they believe are being mistreated as a matter of course, true or not) in several doses at critical times for maximum negative effect, involve law enforcement, etc. – remains to be seen if acknowledgement translates out to meaningful reform while there is still time for it. I hope so.

        • Gayle Meyers

          Mistreatment of the horses was pretty darn clear.

          • vinceNYC

            Every high percentage trainer does it….

      • Lexington 4

        Your advisers should be telling you to be a seller right now, not a buyer, anyway. The sales are pretty good.

      • Gayle Meyers

        I disagree – I think the scrutiny will intensify a hundred fold if he DOES win. I see NO vindication in a victory on the track. It would raise the suspicion level and allow the issue to get more broad media coverage.

        • Jay Stone

          Just a guess but I still believe the Winchell horses will be moved shortly. The scrutiny would be too much for anyone to take and the atmosphere would be like a large circus. I think Asmussen gives up the horses on his own as almost a goodwill gesture citing best for everybody.

          • Knowitall

            This made me giggle. Asmussen is going to give up major Derby and Oaks contenders because he is…worried about what is best for everybody…?

    • Gayle Meyers

      And then there are the out-and-out deniers, who want to divert the anger to the messenger. Shame on you, Maggi Moss, and Barry Irwin.

      • SteveG

        I’m quite sure you don’t realize this but it doesn’t reflect well on your position, armed with half a thimbleful of knowledge about others, to be so eager to cast aspersions. I believe most rational people would count both Moss & Irwin on the side of the horse.
        Many of us are angry. Many of us have been rationally extolling fundamental overhaul of the sport for years. Not all of us are as rabid as you’d like. Grrr.

        • Gayle Meyers

          First of all, Mr. Thimbleful, the word is “dispersions”, not “aspersions”. And you have a reading comprehension problem as well, to as the TITLE of Maggi’s opinion creates her straw man argument against PeTA. Mr. Irwin has made other disparaging (OMG! There is another form of that word!) comments about PeTA. The correct response from industry leaders? Why not read the above article again, to get a clue? That is, if you can comprehend the meaning…

          • SteveG

            Au contraire, Ms. Malaprop. A “dispersion” from the root word, disperse, is a diaspora of sorts, a spreading out. An “aspersion” is a negative remark about someone or something, often malicious & unfounded. You’ve got “disparage” right but the extension would be disparagement. I hardly have the time to take you to school. However, there’s an Equal Rights For Locusts meeting you might be interested in taking at the corner of Crackpot & Main starting right…about…now.

          • Gayle Meyers

            I neither cast aspersions, or dispersions, when I stated the truth: both Ms. Moss AND Mr. Irwin made straw man statements blaming the messenger, INSTEAD of decrying the abuse and vowing to do something about it, like Mr. Gural in this article. I KNOW their reputations and the many OTTBs Ms. Moss has saved, and that certainly makes her straw man argument all the more appalling. These are two people who should be outraged at the cheaters, NOT at the whistleblowers. You may disparage me all you want, but facts are facts, my dear. Even your rude words will not change them!

  • http://dprdpr@live.com Don Reed

    Is anyone now telling “New Jersey jokes,” now that the only American race track owner with guts is taking a stand that no one else in the racing industry is doing?

  • Danny Gonzalez

    The sport has the way to do it. The problem regarding change is as basic as control. The corrupt practices start at the top. We as people need to do more to get these kinds of people out of the sport. I remember when someone asked me why did you stop training i said i cant win against the needle and i love my horses to much to put them through this withdrawl process that goes along with long term drug use. I remember my vet telling me we can get this horse to win after arguing with him that the horse had an infection in his guttural pouches. That was the last straw for me i took the horses home and left the track. I want to go back to it but having a 400 dollar vet bill everytime i race or putting a riders life at stake cause we need to juice this horse to make him competitive sucks. I remember one time i scratched the horse out of the race cause he had a sore splint. I got called from the stewards saying your shortening the field I said i have to do right by the horse they said you have to do right for racing. Is doing right for racing killing my horse or injuring him to a point where i would have to spend thousands on him after the race to get him back. My horse suffered back problems i was told well give him roids it will go away. the funny thing is i used a water horse walked got him out of the stall and the horse was great in a month. The back problem was due to improper shoeing. It took 3 months after i purchased him to get him right. I still remember the lunch box trainers as i call them asking to take over my horses that time. I can get him to win they said. I had just bought a horse from one of the lunch box trainers he did get that horse to win but in winning gave the horse a sagital fracture. He got his one win but i got more out of him after he healed and became a great show horse. Its tough to compete when the the top trainers are out there jumping to the needles before. I remember in late 2005 i had a filly that wasnt acting right something was wrong I couldnt figure it out. I called the trainer who had the sister he told me treat with this medication that medication. Then i said let me call a real horsemen I called jack van berg I said jack i need help i explained what was happening he said feed her like this do this and that no medication 3 weeks later i had a winner. This sport has gone to the cheaters but its not the trainers or the vets its the racing commisions. They have no rules that stop the ethical abuse of a horse. We are formulating a model set of rules and from all the people that have seen the model they say wow why has nobody ever thought about this. its a simple structure that punishes trainers who cheat by keeping them from the top. I know some people will say this may not prevent cheating but as a competitor i know that people would hate to be denied to race at the top levels of racing . Repeat violators would be sent to the bottom even after they do there suspensions. I would hate to have a great 2 year old with triple crown promise go to another trainer cause i cant keep my barn in the right shape or i do unethical things.

    • GreggJ

      Thank you for a wonderful/honest post Mr. Gonzalez. Wish you all the best and thank you for putting your horses first. Your comment explains all that is wrong with the sport.

    • betterthannothing

      Great post! Race horses lack pure, strong, non-conflicted representation by an authority solely devoted to protecting their welfare and safety. In the absence of representation, horses and, with them, the entire racing industry are paying a terrible price.

    • ginger2000

      A great post, and I am sure we are not alone in leaving a sport we loved because of the abuse.

    • LL

      You are the kind of trainer I would like for my horses. I’ve been in this game for too many years but I love it. I feel most of my trainers over the years have been ethical and honest. But I do remember inquiring one time about meds used and the answer was “we use only enough to be competitive”. Now what does that mean. Needless to say I’m not with that trainer anymore. It’s pretty hard though to beat the needles and whatever and not get discouraged. I hope someone listens to your proposals.

      • Danny Gonzalez

        Many are listening and i have some congressional ears listening also. I will return to the track in june of this year we have some people that are begging for me to return so i have no choice really. People are tired of Day rate trainers

        • diastu in tempe

          Danny, I’m tempted to buy a horse to put in your barn! Short of that, I most certainly will be betting on your horses and hoping they all win!

          • Danny Gonzalez

            email me aggadan at gmail

  • Seth R Hazen

    Gural is a guy I would be proud to work for.

  • Absolute Insurer

    Ray – your next interview should be with RCI . They were happy to send letters to various racing officials asking for action against Rick Dutrow. Why did it stop there ? Where are they now ? It, unfortunately, makes me conclude that their campaign against Dutrow was personality motivated rather than good governance. Keep up the terrific reporting !

    • Danny Gonzalez

      IT was a personally targeted attack and we have copies of the emails between the ARCI and various racing commisions proving that it was malicious act. Rick Dutrow needs to be brought back He never treated his horses bad or called them MFers and his violations are the same and someone getting a ticket for j walking. All he drugs he used were allowed by the commisions . I know rick personally the last time someone called one of his horses an Mfer he layed the guy out. Thats on his record nobody ever asked why

      • Bandit’s Mom

        You are correct, Danny, Rick would have tossed him out. My brother has been saying the exact thing since this story broke.

      • we’re watching

        Give me a break.You’re kidding about Dutrow, right??? The horses loved the roids I guess. He was first, more to come.

        • Danny Gonzalez

          What planet are you from Roids where allowed ant 80 percent of all horses racing had them in there system

    • http://judgebork.wordpress.com Lou Baranello Former Steward

      Absolute Insurer, Very good observation! I believe you could be right about personality dislike being more prominent in that decision than simple good governance. The industry is in its present state of chaos because of a lack of good governance. Stewards and racing commissioners have fumbled through an endless number of hearings where their adjudications did not equal the severity of the violation. Thirty or more years of that is precisely what placed the industry in the present dilemma. Stewards and racing commissioners should have higher standards than those found acceptable today.

      • Jay Stone

        Sir, you are correct. In your day that was true but today politics rule and in lot of cases integrity and ability are lacking

  • Kcollinsworth

    Mr. Paulick, this is a great article with some very solid insight from Jeff Gural, who in my opinion is the most reputable track operator in north america. The Paulick Report is the only racing oriented media source that has spoken frankly about this terrible mess, and you and your staff are to be commended for it. I only have one disagreement with you. You reference the video as evidence from an extremist group, as hearsay that would never stand up in a court of law. The PETA produced and edited video has provided the 3 racing boards, the IRS along with federal and state law enforcement agencies with a trail to follow. The alleged forging and falsification of social security documents alone will be enough to rack up felony convictions against Steve Asmussen and Scott Blasi. Blasi is already finished in horse racing and when the felony indictments come down, Steve Asmussen will be finished as well. PETA’S investigation was the beginning of the end for Steve Asmussen and Scott Blasi, you can bet the ranch on it.

    • Gayle Meyers

      I second that!

  • Ruben Flores Diaz

    I think the most important thing Blasi addminted to is the buzzer use, i dont know if the horses that were shown getting the injections raced soon after they got the shots, probably they did not run soon after, that has to be investigated, but the addmission of cheating by Blasi and Santana has to be sufficient reason to suspend these two and Asmussen. A lot of the focus has been directed towards the medication and not enough to the use of the electrical divise.

    • maggie zimmer

      Where in the world did you read/hear that Santana said he used a buzzer? Was only said by PETA, was not in the tape. I am hoping
      Santana sues PETA for that insertion.

      • Gayle Meyers

        Honey, Blasi asks Santana if he has the “machine” in the video, referring to a buzzer. And ,no, there is not any doubt that he is referring to anything else.

    • fb0252

      was the buzzer for a race or for a lazy horse in the morning?

      • Gayle Meyers

        That does not matter one whit!

  • Ruben Flores Diaz

    Santana did not appear in the video Blasi was filmed telling the story when he asked do you have the maquina and that he responded yes boss i got the maquina

    • Gayle Meyers

      Yes – I corrected her, too. Funny how an preset opinion creates selective memory.

  • Ruben Flores Diaz

    One or the other both are illegal

    • Gayle Meyers

      What jerk, huh? Oh, it’s only cruel and illegal if you give electrical shocks to the animal during a race… wow. No wonder we have a problem in the sport.

  • Margaret

    Scott Blasi potty mouth was horrible. I’ve always been taught that how you speak about those you work with kinda defines who you are. His bad mouthing the horses seems to tell me that he needed his backside kicked to the curb and beyond. Whether Assmussen talks like this or not is for another day. Blasi needs his mouth washed out with soap. His language wasn’t just vulgar, he was way over the top on rude, crude and socially unacceptable. Dirty rotten foul mouth.

    • Bellwether

      Yea…Sounds like he took a page from the WHITE HOUSE…PLEASE…The Horses are more worried about the ABUSE…ty…

  • RedInTheFace

    This is leading from the top and not always the bottom (bottom line that is). All tracks are hungry for starters – starters equal handle which equal profit. Profit at any cost in any industry is a slippery slope. You have to care for this particular product since they don’t have a voice themselves in this case. There is nothing – I repeat nothing – worse than having an overrun, sore horse breakdown in front of the grandstand. Any newcomers to the sport run away at that point…

    • ginger2000

      There would be more starters if stalls were allotted differently. There would be more trainers at a track. Who wants to race where 3 horses are trained by Baffert, or Todd Pletcher?

      • RedInTheFace

        Agreed. We operated a small stable years ago and it was always difficult to get 3-4 stalls allocated for a race season.

  • Ray’sGhost

    Your best article ever, Ray. The gloves need to come off and the enablers need to be outed. The future of the entire sport hangs in the balance and you rightly recognize that.

  • Guest

    Shockwave therapy is not illegal nor is it inhumane, it’s used in human medicine every day. Also as The video shows that the horse has barely any pulse to his feet, well that’s a good thing when they have a high pulse rate that means you have inflammation in that particular foot for limb, and the use of glue to put shoes on so I don’t have to put nails in their feet, I know Scott Blasi comes off as a foulmouthed knucklehead, Who had horses joints injected by professionals , I think Mr. Gural owns horses also, would he be willing to say none of his horses ever had a joint injected? I doubt it, yes the video doesn’t look good but I don’t see a smoking gun here. I also would not like to see the Federal government step in,they screw up everything they touch.

    • ginger2000

      There is nothing inherently wrong with shockwave therapy, drugs, or joint injections. The point is they are not used as they should be. They are THERAPEUTIC drugs to be used in conjunction with REST. They are not to be used as duct tape to get horses to the track.

      • guest

        The scenes included in the PETA video were chosen because they look shocking. The implication is that the horses were patched up and sent out to run, but we weren’t told whether this was the case. The most laughable example is the scene in which a veterinarian is working with a gray horse. The veterinarian is actually in the test barn, drawing blood for post-race drug testing. He certainly isn’t doping the horse.

        Perhaps PETA has more video and other evidence. If the Saratoga horses were treated with IA corticosteroids less than seven days prior to race day, for example, that would be a clear-cut violation of the NY rules, but that is not one of the allegations in PETA’s complaints to various NY and KY regulatory bodies. Similarly, though Scott Blasi discusses shock wave therapy (and acknowledges how dangerous it is to treat close to race day), we never see a horse being treated. Shock wave is loud, but we never hear a horse being treated, either. FYI, not all horses react painfully, depending upon the individual, the machine setting and the structure being treated.

        PETA has created exactly the reaction they wanted. It’s a fine piece of marketing. Unfortunately, the problems in racing implied by the PETA video are very real. The fact that a group of extremists can gain the attention of the mainstream media should convince those who hope racing can survive with business as usual that this is far from the reality of racing in the Internet age. Everyone needs to straighten up and fly right: track management, stewards, horse owners, veterinarians, trainers, riders, etc. We can all do better.

        • Gayle Meyers

          If you look at the documents submitted by PeTA with the video, YES, Teardrop was run in a stakes race four days after Blasi’s foulmouthed lament of how there is always something wrong with the horses. So, yes, if you go through all the material, anyone can see that the horses were “patched up and sent out to run”.

      • Jay Stone

        This is exactly what a lot of people don’t understand. Give those horses r and r on a farm while performing those therapies and most horses will eventually come back. This was always done years ago but huge purses today make it impossible because in most cases you can drop a claimed substantially, win, and get out. I’ve seen shock wave therapy done on many horses and while noisy some horses tolerate it without pain

      • Gayle Meyers

        Oh, Mr. Guest just keeps repeating the same old lines we have heard since day 1 of this outrage: “they did nothing wrong”; “its all legal”; and the pulse excuse. Low pulse is normal. High pulse is bad. No pulse would worry me, especially if as Mr. Blasi explained in the video, “look, I know the f*cker is sore”. And as Ginger mentioned, there was misuse of therapy and drugs and pained horses were run and trained. If you don’t see a smoking gun, perhaps you need an eye exam.

  • superjan

    Woodbine in Canada has had integrity in racing for at least ten years. They were the first to have off track testing. If you asked Mr. Gural where his beliefs stemmed from I am sure he would say Woodbine. The harness industry hated Woodbine Exec.’s when horses were stabled under security cameras and security officers.

  • rachel

    I will never, ever forget Nehro’s story..a racing life filled with agony as he tried his best to win, and his last hours in even more agony as people piled on him to control him before death released him…all the while filthy mouthed people cursed him…

    At least Ferdinand and Exceller had only one bad day… Nehro is the poster child for all competition horses of man’s greed.

    • Gayle Meyers

      Amen! There is no excuse for simply saying, “I know the f*cker is hurting.” and the training him anyway. No excuse.

  • paula pwk

    That is a common practice when shipping in to stop at a rest stop and give a shot. None of these things revealed by PETA are new, they have been going on since way before I first ended up at Delaware Park at 18 with a dream and a lot of innocence. Not anymore! It is an ugly sport, that’s why I’m back in school studying to get a good job so I can get my horse fix with my own horses that are treated right and used for pleasure, not this horrible “game”.

  • south florida tom

    I believe the different leaders in the racing industry should speak up and do something, in other words LEAD. Todd Pletcher (with all your billionaire owners from the Middle East) you are the leading trainer—now LEAD. Darley Stable, Adena Springs etc., you are the leading breeders–now LEAD. Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey, Midwest Thoroughbreds, Maggi Moss, you are the leading owners–now LEAD. You all loved the publicity you have received now have a backbone and do something. Peer pressure solves a lot of problems. Racing fans are looking up to you to do something.

    • Bellwether

      Amen!!!…Amen!!!…Amen!!!…ty…

    • ginger2000

      Todd Pletcher? Did you read the list of drugs given to Coronado Heights?

    • betterthannothing

      Being a leader in racing does not necessary equal fit to lead by example.

    • Jay Stone

      That way to reform is impossible. They have to be made to change by laws because some of those groups would never take the first step.

      • ginger2000

        It seems to me that it needs to happen at the state level (at this point). Get the current racing commissioners OUT. Get people in who are for reform. Make new laws. Then tracks and trainers must follow the new rules – or be punished with new punishments. The fact is that the racing commissions are in control. They pretend they’re not, because they want to keep the big trainers and owners happy. It is a good ole boy situation. So get them out.

  • Beach

    Many thanks to Mr. Paulick and Jeff Gural for the guts and integrity they display. WHO ELSE WANTS TO STEP UP?!!!

  • Gail Vacca

    That Winchell is leaving his two 3-year old stars with Asmussen virtually guarantees that this is NOT going to blow over. That Churchill Downs Inc. hasn’t stepped up to ban Asmussen from its tracks further ensures that come the first Friday and Saturday in May, the systemic failure of the industry to protect the horses and rid itself of the cheaters is certain to be the main topic of media coverage and conversation. I’m actually grateful for this….clearly the industry has had a multitude of events that should have inspired change, and yet, here we are…same old, same old drugging and abuse. The industry deserves what is sure to come this triple crown season. Sadly, the good horseman and non-cheaters will pay the price as well.

    • Bellwether

      Over the long haul the Honest People/The Game will be a TON better off when all the ROTTEN ONES are long gone!!!…Book That…ty…

    • Gayle Meyers

      They certainly don’t seem to grasp the implications, do they? CDI, or Winchell.

  • Dan Jividen

    Can you imagine what will happen if Tapiture (trained by Steve Asmussen) wins the Kentucky Derby? It might happen. Tapiture is a legitimate contender. If he wins it will make the present controversy look like a Sunday School picnic.

    • Bellwether

      Make this look like a “Sunday School Picnic”???…Hardly…This is deep do do and the stink isn’t going away soon…ty…

  • Bellwether

    Does it really surprise anyone here that really knows (has owned one and been back there) what has been going on in Thoroughbred Horse racing for way to long???…I told the PR and its posters many moons ago that PETA is going to expose the rot that has engulfed one of OUR “National Treasures”…Stay tuned as this is the straw the honest people in “The Game” have been waiting for!!!…ty…

  • Barry Irwin

    On the “flat” side of the game (Thoroughbreds), there is no counterpart to Jeff Gural, because our administrators want these miscreant trainers’ horses to run at their tracks. The tracks like these guys too much. EVERYBODY knows who the bad guys are, have a pretty good idea of what they do, yet these miscreants not only are allowed to ply their trade, but to be glorified by the tracks’ publicity departments and, in some instances, their media outlets, including TV. Southern California racing is the poster child for this sort of activity, but it does exist in other locales as well. If Mr. Zayat thinks he has cleaned house he is even more naive than he already has appeared during the Asmussen blow up.

    • NY Owner

      Well said Barry! I have dabbled in harness racing over the years and have ended up getting out on every horse I’ve had (either sold or retired) in disgust. As painful as these reports are, they are necessary and we do need more like Gural in the TB business. For starters, we will need to get the NY tracks out of the state’s hands!

    • ginger2000

      Yes, that is the sad truth.

    • Bandit’s Mom

      Zayat, naive? Anything but! At this point he is trying to become the Poster Boy for clean racing and will probably do so. Racing needs to put a gag order on him, asap!

    • PntGvn

      With all due respect Mr. Irwin, your assertion that “our administrators want these miscreant trainers” to run at our tracks is off base. In my state, I know of multiple pending civil lawsuits brought against associations in response to exclusions/ejections that were issued directly as a result of medication violations. There are tracks that want to cleanse their backside population of these miscreants, however, when the Courts tie their hands and trample on their private property rights, the operators are inviting litigation when they try to do the right thing. I am NOT saying we don’t have a serious drug problem in our sport — clearly we do. However, to say we embrace the cheaters across the board is a misrepresentation of the efforts being made by many in our industry who have the right intentions.

      • Barry Irwin

        Where do you race?

  • Cgriff

    Weak kneed racing organizations, hand wringing impotent administrators of said organizations who offer packaged statements (signifying nothing – talk about your tales told by idiots) and hoping it all just will quietly “go away”……..Ray – you couldn’t have encapsulated industry response any more accurately. That sums it up.
    Ground up rebuild – that is what we need in this industry. And quit blaming the messenger. Band-aid, slapdash and ineffectual rule additions won’t save it. Business as usual and hoping it will go away will doom what’s left of this grand sport.

    • fb0252

      or, gross overreaction. which is it?

      • Gayle Meyers

        not enough reaction, I’d say. Lukas and Stevens need to be de-frocked from the HOF

  • McGov

    Managing the health of an athletic horse in North America has become all about what is the quickest method…not what is the best method all things considered..but what is the quickest way to get the horse back into production. This is not sport…it is a factory. The horse is not celebrated beyond what it can produce. There is no respect for this remarkable animal that gives and gives. We just take every drop and then cast them to the side for the next one with a ‘what have you done for me lately’ attitude.
    I know that many horseman are not like this and treat horses as their family.
    But they are few and far between and as the cheaters prosper and take more and more from the honest man..there are less and less honest men.
    The solutions are not rocket science…we don’t need to reinvent the wheel here…there are successful models throughout the world…perhaps we should borrow from our good friends an example of how to sustain integrity in our sport…before we become just another example of pride preventing progress.

    • Bellwether

      Wonderful post but we really don’t need to borrow from our friends to save a “National Treasure”…”The Thoroughbred”…Thoroughbred track owners just need to step up to the plate like Mr. Grule has and things will damn sure change for the better…Period…ty…

    • ginger2000

      Well said..

    • betterthannothing

      Absolutely true. Solutions are obvious and anything but not rocket science. What is needed first of all is honesty, will and basic common sense.

  • forestwildcat

    You can have a really nice horse, one that is equal in all respects to the top horses but if you cant do the vet work you cant compete, That’s just the way it is right now

    • Bellwether

      Been that way to damn long and it is about to change!!!…Believe it!!!…ty…

      • forestwildcat

        I hope so

      • ginger2000

        I hope so too.

  • http://batman-news.com Elizabeth Innes

    Great article! I agree with Ian Howard below – lets see who has the backbone to say enough is enough. I pray the major players will come forward but I fear there will just be another long silence.

  • junoblack

    Gural for National Racing Commissioner

  • forestwildcat

    Think we got short fields now just wait till they take away/regulate the meds

  • bobjonestwo

    Very disappointing, but certainly not surprising that no one in the Thoroughbred industry has contacted Gural. That’s the way it has always been. There are many, many good people in horse racing, but basically every race track is only interested in its own welfare, period. They want to make money and want no bad publicity and have always been content to hide any illegal or damaging behavior, and by the way have been knee deep in it themselves more often than not. It’s what you get when you have no national oversight and police yourself. Just look at our own federal government, they investigate themselves and always find not a “smidgen” of corruption. There are remedies for horse racing, but really there is no one that I see in the industry that wants to upset the apple cart. Everyone that follows horse racing knows there are super trainers who win not because of their great horsemanship but through their “miracle” drugs. Even when they are caught they only get slapped on the wrist, their assistants take over for a short time and then they are soon back at it again, and this happens time after time, to many of the top trainers. The only fix is bans, permanent ones,on the cheaters. That will get their attention, but I don’t expect anything to change, it never has.

    • betterthannothing

      The threat of being under surveillance and ending up in jail would be good fixes.

      Please visit the WHOA website. There is light at the end of the ugly tunnel!

  • gg

    It is nice to know there is at least one person who is not afraid to do the right thing for both the horses and players.

  • Richard C

    Shadowy characters who wear tailored suits and parade around at the “major league” tracks are considered icons of the sport, while having the means to deflect “bad news” for any number of years…..put the same person in dirty duds at a dumpy place masquerading as a race track — and he has no chips to play if the law comes knocking on his door.

  • SerlingIsaPiker

    Whimpy apologists like Steve Byk are the problem

    • Big Red

      It certainly doesn’t help his credibility when he a has drug pushing (his own brand) vet on the show every week defending the practices shown on the video.
      The “but it’s legal” story line is getting old.

  • Gayle Meyers

    Cue the excuse maker crowd who will lampoon Brice Cote for digging in the trash can and blowing the whistle on a cheater… no? Then please stop making a straw man argument about PeTA. The debate is not about them. I don’t care if Michael Moore himself was the videographer ( he wasn’t, of course) :The debate is about the integrity of Thoroughbred racing

    • ginger2000

      Exactly is not about PETA. The video could just as easily have been shot by a 10 year old with a cell phone. The video speaks for itself.

    • SerlingIsaPiker

      the PETA haters sit around doing nothing. screw em

  • Tonto

    Until TB racing has the integrity to do the same thing, Commissions will be arranging the Titanic deck chairs as we all go down. Ruling off for 6 months while the same trainer is racing in another state is a joke. Half a dozen vets working in the barn area before the days races- sure a lot of Coggins tests need updating ??? Owners that rell you it coast $400. to ‘run a horse race day’ Rules that make hiring exercise riders impossible – no free lance rides- just ‘salaried’ ones= leaves the trainer with a couple of horses out of luck. Track managemnets like the BIG ba rns . Little guys – not so much. Big embarrassment and what is wrong with racing – watch TV program Undercover Boss – CEO of Churchill Downs.

  • Tonto

    Three cheers for the Standbbreds

    Until TB racing has the integrity to do the same thing, Commissions
    will be arranging the Titanic deck chairs as we all go down. Ruling off
    for 6 months while the same trainer is racing in another state is a
    joke. Half a dozen vets working in the barn area before the days races-
    sure a lot of Coggins tests need updating ??? Owners that rell you
    it coast $400. to ‘run a horse race day’ Rules that make hiring
    exercise riders impossible – no free lance rides- just ‘salaried’ ones=
    leaves the trainer with a couple of horses out of luck. Track
    managemnets like the BIG ba rns . Little guys – not so much. Big
    embarrassment and what is wrong with racing – watch TV program
    Undercover Boss – CEO of Churchill Downs.

    Reply

    Share ›

  • StuartChenkin

    Gural also cares about the people who take care of the horses. He sends a very generous donation th eThe Belmont Child Care Association every year.

  • Marlaine Meeker

    Thank you Ray Paulick for continuing to keep us informed. Please keep it up. Also I think you can find merit in almost every comment,so I will refrain for now but am thanking everyone who cares about racing for doing so.

  • Ken Meng

    Mr Gural is to be commended but it certainly is telling about the state of the horse racing business when a person is lauded for doing what any other sports or business executive would consider a “no brainer” in showing the perpetrator the door.

  • Mimi Hunter

    It would be nice if TB racing was able to do something like Mr. Gural has done at the Meadowlands. I’m not sure it will come about. There is a basic difference in Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing – it has to do mainly with the connections of the horses. Standardbreds were traditionally family owned – drop hat races on the way to church or any other function for that matter. Thoroughbreds were traditionally owned by the ‘landed gentry’ – and for the most part these guys think that the rules don’t apply to them. It would take a really gutsy track management to enforce rules like Mr Gural has. These guys would rather buy the track than follow any rules. I really didn’t see anything definitive on that 9+ minute tape – most of the explanations were given by the narrator. I’m just not sure there is enough on that tape for a court of law, BUT track managements wouldn’t need that to enforce private property rules. I would really like to see it happen.

  • crookedstick

    Oh, yeah, and next week Doc Blach, owner of Mine That Bird will be welcomed at the Downs, with a movie (50-1) that he says “honors his life-time accomplishments.” I thought his life-time accomplishment was testifying for Valley Meat to slaughter 121 horses per day, within walking distance of his Breeding Barn. He also, said, the Drugs won’t be a problem in the meat, given a ‘clearance time” just like at the Track.

  • james

    So that proves that he most likely would have tested clean !somebody are not doing there job.

  • Convene

    Well stated, Ray. While I have little good to say about PETA on the whole, it’s difficult to believe that they saw and heard SOMETHING that has no place in racing – or anywhere else horses live and work. We need more people like Gural with the stones to stand up and take the hard line on cheaters and abusers. The good and decent participants in racing, the horses, and the fans/bettors deserve that kind of attitude. I think the ball is now in racing’s court and every honest and honorable participant had better stand up to be counted. Quickly, while we still have a sport to stand up for.

  • pink bikini silks

    I’m wondering why people keep leaning on the powerful ones to show leadership first. Looks to me like the Stronach group seems more interested in driving the Calder track out of business while building up their shopping/entertainment/disney-esque racetrack complex, and CDI seems more interested in having everybody in America still believing that the KY Derby is “America’s most important race.” It’s only that because they never show most of the other races on TV that happen ALL YEAR.
    Why can’t just one track, somewhere, anywhere, do what thjs guy at Meadowlands has done. Crack down on cheaters & throw their butts out no matter who they are. Maybe then others will follow suit.
    Then again, from what I’ve read, there are still designer drugs out there that can’t even be detected by a lab yet so get that problem solved first and then you’ll actually have something to crack down on.

  • jjlow

    Truth hurts.

    Kind regards from Argentina

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001019572831 Kalar Walters

    Jeff Gural, I applaud you!! Now let’s look into cloning a few dozen of you. :)

  • cole1421

    i think until the bad press goes to the top…the owners….u will be hard pressed to stop what is going on. many prominent owners continue to do business with very suspect trainers because of the financial gains instead of taking a stand and saying i will be a party to this

  • vinceNYC

    So I agree Gural has the absolute right to to throw people off the grounds …..My concern is the lack of any due process for the person he throws at to offer their side of things…maybe he already does this but making someone judge , jury and executioner , to me , is never good.

  • Vudu

    While I’m not a big harness fan, this action is impressive – kicking out cheaters. This puts a whole new perspective on the Meadowlands for me & I will pay closer attention.

    If “we” don’t tolerate steroids in baseball & other performance-enhancing drugs in sports, surely we need to apply the same sort of scrutiny & punishment in the racing industry.

    Coming soon:
    My new book. “How to Factor Cheating into Your Pick 6 & Superfecta Wagers.”

  • Tonto

    Watch the TV program of Undercover Boss featuring the CEO of Churchill Downs , in the barn area. What an embarrassment to the whole industry and a good reason the whole busincess is in trouble.

  • tessboss

    I think the only real solution to the problems of drugs and racing is too ban all drugs. Just like Europe did. If they are given drugs by vets then after they are deemed sound and or well, then 30 days must pass before racing again. As a bettor and a fan, I am increasingly sick of the drug issue and may walk away from the sport

  • DR

    Bannish them and remove their past greatness from books to set the record right.
    Sorry, if I had a potential multi-million invested in a ‘player’ I would give him what he needs, just like NFL star quarterback, NBA, biking, etc. It’s in every sport. Control it as best possible there will always be new or grey areas. Too bad these guys, just like in the majors don’t get removed from the history books when caught, unlike Charlie Hustle the Hit King, and don’t tell me they don’t bet on their horse winning.

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