Navarro Suspension: Let’s Make a Deal?

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In a previous life, Leon Biegalski must have been Monty Hall, host of the popular 1960s TV game show “Let’s Make a Deal.” Or maybe he was Barney Fife on the “Andy Griffith Show.” He certainly wasn’t Sgt. Joe Friday from “Dragnet.”

On Friday, Biegalski, in his role as director of the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering – the state’s bungling horse racing regulatory agency – signed a consent order giving trainer Jorge Navarro a 60-day suspension that began on Monday, Oct. 7.

As the Church Lady from “Saturday Night Live” might say, “How convenient.”


Maybe it’s just a coincidence that 20 months after six horses from Navarro’s barn tested positive for the anti-inflammatory Banamine, the trainer was able to live the dream and win a Monmouth Park training title, then begin his suspension the day after the Monmouth Park meeting ended. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Navarro had a very good meet at Monmouth, winning 47 races from 146 starters, with 33 finishing second and 16 third. That’s a win ratio of 32 percent and a 1-2- 3 percentage of 66 percent. Being good shouldn’t allow him to schedule his own suspension.

He had similar numbers at Tampa Bay Downs, where the alleged Banamine violations occurred in January and February 2012. Navarro had a 32 percent strike rate during that 2011-2012 meet and 35 percent in the 2012-13 meeting.

The beat goes on in his absence. The first horse from Navarro’s barn that started after the suspension took effect on Monday, J B’s Unc, won his fourth consecutive race since Navarro claimed him for $5,000 at Churchill Downs out of a fifth-place finish on May 25. Only this time, running in a Parx allowance race, he was saddled by Alexander Martinez. J B’s Unc has made $82,800 for his owners, High Point Thoroughbred Partners, since being claimed by Navarro. He won his first three races for them by an average of more than nine lengths. That is some form reversal.

Now that this matter is “closed,” will Tampa Bay Downs officials take action against Jorge Navarro as they did against Jane Cibelli? It looks like Biegalski planned Navarro’s time off perfectly, as the 60-day suspension ends on opening day of the Tampa Bay meeting. Can I get a “hallelujah” from the Church Lady?

This is beyond outrageous. Why did this case drag on for 20 months? Why was there never any notice of a stewards hearing involving Navarro and these six alleged medication violations? Why did director Biegalski so obviously give Navarro an opportunity to pick his suspension dates so that it would be convenient to winning a training title at Monmouth Park? Why does Florida Gov. Rick Scott allow his regulatory agency to operate in such a dysfunctional, secretive and incompetent manner?

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  • XX

    Ray, I have been saying this for years. Some of these smaller tracks don’t want to piss off the super trainers as they will go elsewhere in a hurry. This then would result in smaller fields; lower handle, less $ for the track; less $ for salaries and benefits for the admin folks. Cibelli gone, imagine if Ness and Navarro are permanently banned from Tampa. You will have 7 races a day with 6 horse fields.

    • Hamish

      ….. and more folks interested in horse racing, either as owners or bettors.

      • 4Bellwether666

        Really makes people want to flock to “The Game” doesn’t it???…Sad state of affairs…

    • Jennifer

      There are a lot of trainers who do not go to Tampa because of the trainers you mentioned. If Tampa cleaned up its act, the honest trainer may come back. Most of us do not want to compete with cheaters.

      • betterthannothing

        Exactly!

    • Jay Stone

      Believe it or not but it is a proven fact that when these trainers are not involved in a race the handle is higher. When they win at 30 to 40 percent there horses are always odds on or lower and these races are not bet by the public. The races without a standout favorite have higher handles.

      • Don Reed

        Jay, what are the odds that this has always been written into the software of the deep-pocketed computer-betting players?

        For the numbers to change that drastically, you’d have to have ten or more whales refusing to wager on a race that involves one or more super trainers.
        Would a few hundred bettors (average wager, $10 or less) doing the same thing “move” the numbers to the same extent?

        Oh, yes. Anyone remember the famous financial fiasco, NBC’s “Super Train”?

        • Jay Stone

          Both the big players and the 10 dollar bettors stay away from races where certain trainers are involved. At certain tracks this is also the result of short fields with other trainers not wanting to run against them.

          • Don Reed

            Thanks. Handicapping involving holding your nose, lovely.

    • Janet delcastillo

      Florida has many small trainers wanting to run at their home state track. Look at the hundreds of farms in ocala. A big part of the problem is the workers comp issue. If Tampa would loosen the hold on trainers so that the little guys who do most of their own work could run there without a WC policy (state of Fla says you need that with three employees or more unless that has changed) then I assure you there would be a rush of “little” trainers shipping in to run at Tampa. The basic policy is around $3000.00 which is pretty steep for most. Many feel that it is the toughest track with the smallest purses in the country. When the super trainers “train” in Fl in the winter they get the most stalls and can pretty much rule the entry box.
      Tampa has always been a great track to ship in to but that is happening less as the super trainers drop into every race. The betting would be different if we had the nice mix Tampa and Miami used to have when they were more embracing of the small trainers. May be there is hope…we need a level playing field to have a shot!!!

      • Rae fernandez

        how true, i won my first race there and had tons of success. makes no sense for those of us who have no employees beign mandated to buy a workmens comp policy just to run.mind you i have a liability insurance through the hbpa that covers bystanders and jockeys in case of a freak accident etc.most states have a waiver form for you to run including gulfstream park in the same state.????

      • Birdy2

        So true. It’s set up to keep the little guys (most of us do run and train clean because we know our horses so well as individuals) away. Same thing here in Texas. Asmussen got all the stalls he wanted, extra stalls too for who knows what, but we couldn’t get four stalls a few years back. We did get our stalls, but only because I … well never mind about that. At a racing commission meeting in 2010, there was a proposed changed to the coupling rule which would heavily favor the megabarns. Only person to speak out against it was me. Everybody is scared (and rightfully so) of pissing off the powers that be. Head poo-bah Drew Shubeck (sp?) from LSP favored the rule change (sponsored it as a matter of fact), him and his silk-stocking Indian gaming lawyer. I asked him in the meeting, “So Drew, are you planning on changing the name of Lone Star to Asmussen Downs?” He turned purple, for real. And guess what else? The Commission did NOT pass the rule. If more people would speak up and shout it out in the venues which matter… racing commission meetings, gaming commissions, whatever they call it in Florida… that along with guys like Ray Paulick maybe racing has a chance. Sinon, nous sommes foutous.

        • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

          You are so right! Silence accomplishes nothing. Those that speak up get a lot more in life than those who are afraid to rock the boat. And it’s not just racing. I worked for a highway and bridge construction company and learned a valuable lesson because I didn’t want to go a specific location. I asked for a lot more money – something, as a woman, I would normally never do! Well, I got that giant raise! Lesson learned.

    • Birdy2

      Of course. Filling stalls with name trainers supersedes the welfare of the horse or the lack of ethics in Mister Big Stuff. That’s how far this sport I grew up in has deteriorated. Makes me sick.

  • Ben van den Brink

    Better no any racing at all, than this bunch of creeps

  • Countfleet43

    I will not be attending any races at TBD and will not bet a dime at any of the Florida tracks this coming Winter/Spring season. Period…..

  • Richard C

    Really. it’s shocking that 59 days were not whacked off the sentence for good behavior. Florida is as lawless as states that market Class A trash as major league racing.

  • 4Bellwether666

    This CREEP should be locked up…

    • fb0252

      why is that 4Bellwether666?

      • 4Bellwether666

        ANIMAL ABUSE & CHEATING THE PUBLIC…FOR STARTERS…

      • 4Bellwether666

        PR are the takedown clowns…Hope you got my reply before the clowns took it down…ty…

  • 14151617

    Ray you just might be the ONE to open eyes of Tracks,trainers,owners,fans,and more importantly BETTORS.When the realize they are being cheated ever day perhaps they will take the HIGH road and not bet at these tracks.
    Thank you for what you do for the industry.

  • south florida tom

    I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it. The higher-ups at any operation that is government controlled can do almost anything they want, unlike private industry. Leon Bielgaski, as director of the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, does not have a board of directors or stock holders to answer to as in private industry. Who does he answer to? If he does answer to someone and they let these questionable actions go, they are as unethical as Biegalski. The only way to police this stuff is to boycott their product. Stay away from and do not bet any money on Tampa Bay Downs races. LET THE MOVEMENT BEGIN—or should I say let the money exodus begin (from TBD)!!!!!

    • 4Bellwether666

      Never bet 50 cent @ that hole and never will…ty…

    • fb0252

      was it a year ago that everybody was betting tampa due to low takeout? Now we avoid them due to banamine shots? How do you know Biegalski is unethical. Any facts to back up this statement?

      • rpres43

        Rick Scott is his boss. ‘nuf said!

    • Tricky Dick

      What do youpolan on doing with Gulfstream? Navarro will be running there as well. I am smelling hypocrisy South Florida Tom, or is there a hidden agenda on your part?

  • Rebekah Lane

    Keep after them, Ray. Maybe racing officials eventually will develop a sense of shame. I’m not holding my breath, though.

  • Ron Micetic

    I was planning an extended horse racing trip to Florida this winter. I’ll cancel and go to Oaklawn in Hot Springs. These thieves are killing this great sport, and what is worse is that they have no shame..

    • Bill Reed

      The worst is Kirk Ziadie. He wins at a 40% clip, has had numerous drug violations in the past, and is now year-round at Gulfstream Park. But they turn a blind eye because he trains for man that is basically an off-the-books shareholder of the track (and close friend of both the owner and GM).

      Add Gulfstream to the list of tracks to avoid.

    • Milezinni

      You think Oaklawn is any better? Really?

      • Ron Micetic

        Yep!

        • Don Reed

          When was the last time Oaklawn got into their kind of trouble?
          Still, I’m hesitant about driving through a state that runs Roadkill Food Festivals… would love to see NYRA unwittingly accept an application for a Saratoga backyard permit from one of THOSE outfits.

  • Needles

    This guy knows about as much about a horse as a rock. But hey, he knows how to find a good vet !

    • Hamish

      Navarro’s owner group that just won race win at 41%. Even highter than him.

  • brodman

    I wonder if the NJ Racing Commission was aware of the allegations, the timing and the proposed “settlement”. Florida’s delay was probably caused, at least in part, because Mr. Navarro was no longer there and wasn’t affecting Florida racing. More evidence that we need a national racing commission to apply standard medication rules with the power to suspend miscreants nationally. Maybe such a body would not be subject to the fears that Florida may have had about losing Mr. Navarro & his horses and would have acted expeditiously to protect the industry.

    • Birdy2

      Of course they knew. If you’re in the game, you know that there’s no such thing as a secret. Long before they make it to the ARCI, the notes go up in the racing office, and everybody knows. Everybody knows and everybody talks — just not to outsiders. Adherence to the code of omerta on the backside is part of the life. To this day, I’ve yet to see anything in print which wasn’t common knowledge long before. If you think about who the stewards and other racing officials are and their ties through blood or bedroom to backsides everywhere, bon sang. C’est comme la Mafia.

  • Angry Phil

    Now really, do most of you believe Banamine is the magic elixir that has his horses running so well?

    • Hamish

      No, but it’s what he got caught with…… Something more must make them run like the wind?

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

    Ray, here we have another example of why the present system doesn’t work. By that I mean the present system that originates with Governors appointing members of racing racing commissions who in turn hire an executive secretary and approve stewards. There is only one qualification for being a racing commissioner and that is to be seen in a favorable light by the Governor. Unfortunately this is the same basis that is used for hiring many people in many industries. That’s right, be seen favorably by the person or persons doing the hiring. Qualifications are meaningless because many of the people approving others for these positions don’t even know what the qualifications are. I have worked for five different racing commissions and have seen a number of fine men and women do a commendable job in that position but they are in the minority and too many political hacks like Mr. Biegalski end up with these positions and handle these and other important matters in the same fashion as he has done here. I think that so much of this kind of behavior takes place because not enough people care.

    • Jay Stone

      Correct, as long as politics are involved this is what u get. At best the Florida DPMW is insanely slow and at worst totally incompetent. Unfortunately one national group needs to oversee and deal with this problem. A national group would be fine except we now see how inept our congress really is. Other states adjudicate these problems very quickly but until this state adopts a proactive policy it really is up to the individual racing associations to handle.

    • Hoops and Horses

      What we need is a Commissioner who basically can force everyone involved with the sport to sign a “best interests” clause that the Commissioner as the power to enforce as needed. That can force some big changes overall.

      • Jay Stone

        This is like state’s rights versus the federal government. Each racing state wants to have some sort of control over their product. Some are strong and do an excellent job of policing their product. Kentucky would be a model to emulate. Others are weak and make the product look bad like Florida. The individual penalties and drug rules need to be the same in every jurisdiction but the states are unwilling to cede control. Too many states use the jobs as political patronage gifts with people that know nothing about racing in control.

    • TBD for life

      There is no racing commission in Florida.

  • Charlie Davis

    This is the equivalent of someone getting a suspended drivers license, and choosing to have it suspended only between the hours of midnight and 3 AM, on Tuesdays.

  • HOWITREALLYIS

    We really should look at the whole picture and understand that Tampa comes back to the trainers 30 to 45 days after the horse runs so if the trainer is doing something wrong they do not have a chance to change what they did wrong. Navarro is taking his 60 days but you should also understand that Navarro has not come up for one positive in over a year. So for anybody to take the fact that the man is one of the best trainers out there and knows how to take care of his horses and that’s why he is always winning races. Navarro will come back from this and believe me he will continue to win races and make other trainers look bad cause he knows how to train a horse it is very simple(put them where they belong and treat the horse right) SOMEONE ONCE TOLD ME “NOBODY LIKES A WINNER”.

    • Jay Stone

      What you say is correct. An individual could have multiple violations for the same drug which a change in testing would suddenly pick up. Placing horses correctly, an agressive owner, claiming from low percentage connections, and good horsemanship will account for higher than normal percentages. The existing problem is that the state of Florida has no control over racing. If there is a positive reported in Ky. It doesn’t take forever for adjudication. Until this lack of control by the state is rectified the betting public and all horsemen suffer.

    • Needles

      I love winners. I think there are many many great trainers out there. The only problem is those great trainers win at 17-20%. For you to think Navarro is THAT MUCH BETTER than trainers who have been firing at 17-20% for the past 20 years is a joke and you only look like a total fool for saying what you said on here. Why don’t you join a chemistry class with Navarro so you can win at 30%.

      • johnnyknj

        Todd Pletcher is winning at 25% this year, Chad Brown at 27%. What’s more, these guys and others like them have to develop young and expensive horses, which is hardly the recipe for a high winning percentage. Jorge Navarro runs a barn of primarily claiming horses which are chosen with an eye toward improvement and turnaround. It’s like comparing a high-end french restaurant with a good diner and thinking the diner must be doing something underhanded because it gets its food out faster. Jorge is trying to win every race – again, a big difference from many trainers with a different type of stock. What sets Jorge apart from most claiming trainers is his attention to detail, the time he puts in at the barn (ask his wife and kids!) and his patience. He gets them right and then runs them in the right spots. Combine this with owners who know how to pick horses and are willing to spot them aggressively, and it’s no wonder he wins at a high percentage and improves horses. In every human endeavour, there is a bell curve of participants. The least successful are on the left side of the curve, the largest group (the average) are in the middle of the curve and the best are on the right side.This holds true for doctors, lawyers or horse trainers. Jorge is on the right side of the curve. Are we going to decide that everyone who is successful in any line of work is crooked? Jorge had a vet who made a mistake with banamine dosage that Jorge was not notified of by the State until it had been repeated it several times. He obviously did not think he was slipping some undetectable drug by the testing – this is banamine we’re talking about. He is accepting the responsibility and the consequences. Any dissatisfaction with the timing should be directed at the State, which has sole discretion in that matter.

        • Alexander Graham Bell

          So Pletcher and Brown aren’t trying to win every race? He has attention to detail? Does his day have 27 hours in it? It’s the vets fault? Funny no other horses treated by that vet for different clients had any issues. Just admit that integrity isn’t a big deal in your world because the a lot of us idiots that don’t happen to fall on the far right side of that Bell Curve don’t believe he is legit.

          • johnnyknj

            No Pletcher and Brown are not doing everything they can to win every race. That would be foolish when developing young horses or bringing stakes horses back from layoffs. Not to say they would not like to win every race. Also, no one is blaming the vet. Jorge accepts responsibility. But how do you know the vet has not had other issues? Or are you just making things up? That’s what you did in deciding “integrity is not a big deal in my world”. You know nothing about me or my world, and evidently very little about horse racing or civil discourse.

          • Alexander Graham Bell

            Todd Pletcher loses races intentionally in order to develop his horses? On what planet does this occur?
            Who else has these banamine issues in FL? Please enlighten us.
            The idea that ANYONE can 100% determine that a trainer is above board despite all the wild and sudden success of that trainer is ridiculous and pretentious. My question is how do you know that he is legit?

          • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

            It’s not that trainers lose races intentionally, but that with inexperienced horses it is better that they learn to race, to build their confidence, to handle themselves, than to send a jockey out there with the SOLE intention of trying to win.

          • johnnyknj

            Thank you for explaining. I would add that horses are not always 100% tight for a race, particularly off a layoff. Evidently some on this board have never heard of a prep.

          • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

            Absolutely. And I would add that if the horse CAN win, the jockey will surely allow it to win.

        • betterthannothing

          “He gets them right then run them in the right spots”

          Assuming that Jorge doesn’t like to waste time and money waiting for his claiming horses to get “right” on their own with the benefit of rest, can you enlighten us about how Jorge’s get all his horses including his “wrong” horses and those he just claimed so right that on average one out of three starters wins? Or is that Jorge’s closely guarded trade secret?

          • johnnyknj

            Actually, some do get time, even if only a couple weeks on the farm. That or a week or two of ponying can make a big difference in a horse. He also does needed and legal vet work, just as every top trainer does. People might be very suprised how many trainers do very little or no vet work, often out of financial constraints. While that may be admirable, it rarely wins races. Anyone who claims horses knows they can, through perfectly legal means and without abusing the horse, improve on certain trainers like these. That may be a sad commentary on racing these days but it’s the way it is. As Jack Van Berg said “It’s Chemical Warfare” out there. I’m all for changing it but blaming those who win races within the current system is wrong.

          • Jay Stone

            What u say is entirely correct about playing the claiming game the right way. This forum shouldn’t be about pointing out individual trainers who get positives. The point should be about a dysfunctional system in Florida that can’t deal with any problems within the pari mutuel system. Some of these individuals are first time offenders and others are multiple offenders. The system if functional would be able to differentiate.

        • Roisin

          Banamine is given for inflammation, pain and also has a antipyretic effect, right ? By masking possible elevations in temperature it also means other issues can be “missed”. Why do his horses need banamine ? I would guess because they are sore , have inflammatory problems and most likely pain ! Why is he running horses that need this medication ?. They must be in need, otherwise he would not “risk” giving banamine.
          The ramifications of racing horses while administering this drug are a lot more serious then some want to acknowledge.
          When you are in the claiming game you gota keep ‘em runnin !

          • johnnyknj

            Yes, banamine is an NSAID. It’s about as common on the backside as tylenol in a hospital. If we are going to classify every horse treated with it at some point as “sore”, then close to 100% of american racehorses are sore. Not excusing his overages for which he has accepted responsibility and consequences.

          • Jay Stone

            Even though this article targets Jorge as an example of how bad this system is we shouldn’t be led down the wrong path here. Of more importance than hanging a trainer for overusing a NSAID is we should be trying to fix a regulatory division that needs to dismantled. A ruling in Ky. Out today says all. An trainer who shall go nameless received a 30 day suspension and loss of purse for a Clenbuterol positive. It was a very recent positive and a quick penalty. Put in sanctions like this in Florida and watch how quickly the problems and bad press go away.

          • Roisin

            Perhaps the fact that banamine is so common on the “backside” is one of the reasons there is such a “dependency” on drugs in racing. Whatever happened to time off and good horsemanship ? I guess I forgot…we gota keep ‘runnin…
            PS You said banamine is “as common as Tylenol in a hospital”…but the horses are not in the horse “hospital”, are they ?

        • Michael Infurna

          So I assume if Jorge is ruled off for 60 days, his win and ITM % will be going down since he wil “not be around” to train and spot horses under his care? Or has he passed on his expertise to others in his barn so that he continues to win races at an unsustainable pace? And btw, NO ONE legally gets a horse claimed for $5,000 to run a 100 beyer after 4 weeks in his care!!

    • 4Bellwether666

      Someone told u wrong…

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      You are naive.

    • 4Bellwether666

      Someone is shoot n you full of HS…

  • Don Reed

    Jane Navarro.

    • Chris Lowe

      Dave Navarro.

      • Don Reed

        The Guns of Navarro (with Anthony Quinn).

  • SaratogaSid

    America racing authorities have long embraced this horse welfare-violating tradition of coddling and catering to medication violators. The more day-before and raceday drugs allowed, the more recklessly folks utilize permitted drugs, and the more horses break down. Horsemen groups run the show, and rather than representing the health and welfare of horses, racing officials are often expected to protect the financial welfare of the horsemen to maintain their regulatory authority. Six banamine positives in Asia, Europe, or Australia would merit a lifetime ban.

    • Hamish

      Reluctant racetracks that harbor these criminals and fearful puppet like state racing regulators don’t seem to be doing the game (hard to call it a sport knowing what goes on out there) much good.

    • betterthannothing

      I agree with you. Tragically, the 3 most important words in American horse racing are:
      Money
      Today
      Secrecy

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      Exactly. Medications used for racing (not healing) are not for the horses’ welfare.

  • 4Bellwether666

    It is a crime…Animal Abuse…Which can be a felony in a bunch of states…Fix a NFL/NBA/MLB/NHL game and get caught you will go to prison…Why is Horse racing any different???…Please explain that to me…The DEA/FBI needs to get involved and I do know for a fact that they are well aware of what’s going on @ Horse tracks all over the nation…Its just a matter of time and I firmly believe that if this culture doesn’t change soon that they are going to bring the hammer down…Look @ this way…If the Fed just slapped one on the wrist for growing weed how many American’s would be growing it knowing they won’t get jail/prison time…A bunch…ty…

  • Rufusous

    The motto of the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering is: If you’re a cheater in horseracing, and you race in Florida, and you have a problem? We can work it out. No muss. No fuss. We can fix things, conveniently. Don’t let a nasty little secret, get in the way of a beautiful relationship. Call us, and let us know how we can be of help.

  • Hamish

    Where are Tygart/USADA when you need them? Read the recent piece in the Wall Street Journal talking about the meeting in Colorado when Lance Armstrong thought he still had enough juice to force Tygart/USADA into an advantageous deal for him. No dice.

  • Equine Avenger

    This guy is completely clueless too. If he was being interviewed and was asked some average questions, he would walk away(with his shady shades on) because he has very limited horse knowledge. Moya will be the next one we hear about.

  • jon

    Dont blame owners. I for one dont go to the barn before my horse runs and have no idea what my trainer does. I hire clean trainers and pay them to do a job. I dont call them and tell them how to train. I dont think the media realizes how few owners have anything to do w how their horse is trained>

    • FastBernieB

      Hiring a clean trainer and paying them to do their job while basically staying out of their way is only half of what I see as an owners responsibility. By taking on the ownership of a horse, in my opinion, you also take on a moral responsibility to ensure the well being of the animal. Knowing how your horse is trained, where and how it is stabled are things you need to know. If your horse is not treated humanely, not knowing just isn’t good enough.

      • Jay Stone

        I have walked into many barns that ignorant owners thought were well maintained and been shocked by what a mess they were. There is a fine line between letting your trainer do his job and you as an owner protecting the horse.

        • FastBernieB

          Like most people in this business, I’ve been in and around enough barns to know which ones I’d want to be in, if I was a horse. My expectation for any potential horse owner would be that they would educate themselves sufficiently before taking on the responsibility. Your first statement reflects the fact that the only requirement for horse ownership is money in your pocket and the ability to be licensed. Good owners hold themselves to a higher standard. Your second point is very accurate. Recognizing and defining that “fine line” is what makes a successful owner / trainer relationship.

        • Janet delcastillo

          I have had owners tell me they have a good trainer…I ask why? They say the horse’s legs are “done up” every night. If that is their criteria for a “good trainer” then they need to learn a lot more!

  • Kimberly Godwin Clark

    It’s like watching the racing industry commit suicide. Each time they have an opportunity to improve their image with the public – to attract fans, they choose to further damage their already horrible image. This is bad business. Chase away the trainers and owners with integrity and the fans with a flame thrower.

  • Sandi York

    There will come a day when this whole country gets fed up. When this happens do you want to be the one one who says “we should have done something, we should have said something”. I for one will have one sad day when horse racing doesn’t exist in this country anymore.

  • Mark

    How very convenient for Mr. Navarro. Have seen this stuff happen first hand at TBD. Personally know a trainer that had banamine overages at TBD and had to serve a suspension within thirty days of the meets closing. I am a trianer of a 2-4 horse stable. Very frustrating to try and make a living, at the profession I love, when this crap goes on. Gets a little old watching horses trained by the Tampa trainers mentioned, re-break at the 1/8th pole. This makes it almost impossible for small trainers as myself, to continue in this business. Never cheated, never will.

    • Janet delcastillo

      Mark I hope you hang in there…our time will come…I hope the business doesnt self destruct meanwhile.

    • Roisin

      Good for you and good luck too. You sure have my admiration and, I would bet, that of many others. I’m sure it must be discouraging at times. Thank you for doing it right.

  • Francis Bush

    This action reminds me of allowing students to grade their own class work. This kind of function has reached monstrous proportions in the liberal school systems across the USA. We have a society with no guts when it comes to criticizing sorry judgments. The racing industry continues to fall into this kind of thinking and we should have expected it to have happened.

  • JS

    It does seem the trainers are the king pins in racing. The whole system revolves around them. The owners pay out big money but are usually absent; the vets do their bidding or they will not be working ; the tracks need them or they will not be in business. Unfortunately they seem to hold the business hostage. Too bad so many trainers are, at the very least, unethical.

  • Thegospeltruth

    On December 29, 2011, the Florida DPMW lowered the Bute threshold from 5 to 2 mcg/ml and established new thresholds and withdrawal times for 7 ARCI Class lV and V therapeutic medications with Flunixin/Banamine being one of them. Banamine went from a 48 hour withdrawal in Florida to the ARCI Model Rule 24 hour withdrawal time and a 20/ng/ml. This threshold only works if Banamine is administered by weight (0.5 mg per pound) as a “standard dose” would place a smaller horse in jeopardy of exceeding the threshold. The Florida lab turn-around time on a sample is 4-5 weeks which explains why Navarro was informed of all of them at once, and had no more after notification. To be fair, these Banamine overages should have been counted as one. The DPMW should definitely have given this trainer every possible “deal.”

  • Convene

    I guess it isn’t what you do. It’s who you know!!! Next thing we’ll be asking convicted murderers when it’s convenient for them to begin their sentences. I wonder how well that would go over …

    • Jay Stone

      Lets not go overboard and compare drug overage on an anti inflammatory to convicted murderers. That’s getting silly.

      • Convene

        It’s called, “tongue-in-cheek.” Never occurred to me anyone wouldn’t recognize it!

        • Jay Stone

          Understand it but there are a lot of a analogys to choosing when u serve your 60 we could have used that would have shown how preposterous it really is.

  • Dr. CJ

    Florida, with no state income tax, hires based on the lowest bidder. This breeds incompetence and lack of attention to structure and process. I worked in their system once upon a time and it was a pathetic joke at that time. Through networking, I believe it still is.
    Another thought: People who work at the lowest end of the national pay scale, if they have no ethics, might feel quite justified in “supplementing” their income however they can. Just sayin’.

  • we’re watching

    I was at Mth at the paddock and saw a claimed horse from Haw making his first start for this bum. He went to 3-5 by the public, dropping in class from former races, and he broke his leg and was euthanized. Who knows why it happened, but running horses under pain killers, is obviously grossly unfair to a living breathing animal. Lets quit playing footsie with these creeps and put them where they belong, behind bars.

    • Birdy2

      In large part because pre-race vet checks are so inadequate. A bump of bute is just enough to help a sore horse jog sound for the vet. And the thing is, it’s not the race day meds which are the true killers: it’s the drugs they train on. IF A HORSE IS SORE ENOUGH TO NEED METHOCARBAMOL IN ITS FEED TUB, WHY IS IT GOING TO THE TRACK IN THE AM? Methocarbamol, at least, has no known tissue and bone destroying properties, doesn’t lead to ulcers and cardiac damage, doesn’t cause sudden death or osteoporosis (equine version) the way most all the other meds including omeprazole (to control the ulcers caused by NSAIDS and bad management) do…

  • Hamish

    Interesting comments on this subject to say the least. Does Navarro have real shrewd owners that know exactly what horses to claim with an eye for opportunity? Are they claiming from connections that don’t go to the same extent with “agressive” vet work and supplements, thereby providing a vet assist upside? Do they drop down in class all the time into spots where these horses should win? Are they on to some compunded substances that don’t show positive tests in the lab but work wonders on the track that others are not using? Who knows for sure, but one thing is certain, their winning and in the money statistics are historically abnormal and the red flag should be raised with questions asked. Wonder if all the Navarro connections gamble a lot into the pari-mutuel pools, or are they just satisfied with the purse earnings? Lots to learn about this crew.

  • SnarkyEyeCanB

    Horse racing, like all other professional sports, has been, and continues to be, a function of the best chemist, not the best trainer. It was a sport I loved for many years as an owner and breeder. It now sickens me, yet, I follow it, even though it makes my blood boil.

    This I can assure you of: NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE IN THAT BUSINESS REGARDING DRUGS. EVER.

  • DawnP

    Lets Make A Deal was in in the early-mid 70s as well. I remember watching it and remember the crazy costumes the contestants wore. Wonder what Navarro’s costume is?

  • BossMare

    You know, Ray….I’m new to your website in the past year and I really like you! Someone HAS to keep the light on this subject and you are doing a great job! Allowing this to continue is unfair to the horses, other owners, the bettors, and the jockeys. They hurt everyone. Is it any wonder racing is sliding down the tubes?

  • Birdy2

    So does this mean that training on NSAIDS is good for the horses?

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