UPDATED: Trainer Beattie denies cheating allegations; FBI probing Penn National

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Stephanie Beattie, leading trainer at Penn National and president of the Pennsylvania Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, came out swinging against allegations made by a former boyfriend and now rival trainer, David Wells, that horses in her care were administered electric shocks before races, making them run faster when the shocks were simulated again during a race. Wells testified to that effect before a grand jury in Dauphin County, Pa., investigating activities at Penn National involving the doping of horses and possible cash-for-stalls behavior in the racing office.


The grand jury investigation, which began after jockeys boycotted races in which horses owned by Michael Gill were entered at Penn National, concluded last month with the criminal indictment of one of Gill’s former trainers, Darrel Delahoussaye, and recommendations, among other things, that the Pennsylvania Racing Commission look into whether another Gill trainer, Anthony Adamo, and Beattie should continue to be licensed.

Click here to read the grand jury report.

The Paulick Report has also learned that while the grand jury investigation may be over, agents for the Federal Bureau of Investigation are now looking into several matters at Penn National and have begun conducting interviews with individuals.

“It’s insulting to have my name mentioned in the same sentence as him,” Beattie said of Adamo. “And it’s all because of a jealous ex-boyfriend. He (Wells) was with me for nine years, and nothing was ever wrong then. I don’t know what he’s talking about. This is a total lie. A total lie.

“You know, he beat me up twice – he was arrested last year as you reported – and now, all of a sudden, I’m called a cheater by him. It is insulting. I’ve worked hard my whole career, and I’ve done a good job.”

Wells said he has never been convicted of assaulting Beattie.

The grand jury report quotes Wells as saying that exercise riders Sammy Colon and Steve Capeles, along with groom Victor Gonzalez would administer the shocks. “According to Wells,” the report says, “Beattie admitted to him on several occasions that she knew that these employees shocked the horses and that is why the horses run so well.”

“Last year, when we started splitting things up, he took almost every owner except Donald Brown,” Beattie said. “He told owners all kinds of stuff. I went from 80 horses down to about 30, and couldn’t keep all my employees.  I didn’t have room for Sammy Colon, but you know what? He worked for David Wells up until December of last year. Wells said Sammy did something illegal, but he let Sammy work for him.”

Wells ranks ninth in the Penn National standings, with 30 wins from 135 starts. He is also trainer of Rapid Redux, a claiming horse who has won 15 consecutive races at seven different tracks dating back to December. Beattie has won 68 of 241 races at Penn National for a strike rate of 28%.

“The racing commission already talked with a bunch of my grooms about four months ago, and also called in my assistant, each for over two hours,” Beattie said. “I told everyone to go in, tell the truth, and don’t lie. I’m not worried.”

The grand jury also recommended the Pennsylvania Racing Commission look at the license of Adamo, who was Gill’s racing manager and one of his trainers in 2009-10. Adamo, according to the grand jury report, refused to answer questions under oath, invoking his privilege against self-incrimination.

According to testimony, the alleged ringleader of the illegal activity involving Gill’s horses was the owner’s farm trainer, Cole Norman, who was not eligible to obtain a license because of a felony conviction for negligent homicide, in connection with a fatal automobile accident while he was under the influence of drugs. Jesse Benitez, an assistant trainer at Gill’s Elk Creek Ranch, said he observed Norman preparing the so-called milk shakes that accompanied horses vanning from the farm to Penn National. Ronald Bocanegra, a groom at the farm, said he was operating at the direction of Norman when he would administer the milk shakes to horses racing at Penn National. Milk shakes, or bicarbonate loading, are designed to reduce lactic acid building and prevent horses from tiring.

Delahoussaye, in a plea agreement, has been put on six months probation and will give up his license to ever train horses in Pennsylvania after being charged with illegally administering drugs to horses and possession of prohibited substances, including the powerful pain killer snake venom. He will be eligible for licensing outside of Pennsylvania.

The grand jury report also recommended that the state’s Department of Agriculture or General Assembly give the Pennsylvania Racing Commission the authority to regulate and inspect off-site training facilities, such as Gill’s former operation at Elk Creek Ranch. “Trainers and other personnel involved with the race horses at such sites should be subject to licensing to the same extent that personnel at the race tracks are required to be licensed,” the report said.

Finally, the grand jury recommends the Racing Commission investigate the activities of Penn National’s racing office employees and require those employees to executive sworn statements each year verifying they have not accepted anything of value from an owner or trainer.

Sources said the FBI may be looking into several matters, including racing office activities, doping of horses, as well as the 2009 Pennsylvania HBPA election of officers.

UPDATE: Todd Mostoller, executive director of the Pennsylvania HBPA said the “innuendo is ridiculous” that there could have been any irregularities in regards to the 2009 HBPA election in which Beattie narrowly won the office of president over Tim Shea (by five votes of 700 ballots mailed, according to Mostoller). “I can assure you with 120% confidence there was no wrongdoing,” said Mostoller.

UPDATE 2: Lisa Myers, with the CPA and consulting firm Boyer and Ritter that oversaw the 2009 Pennsylvania HBPA election, told the Paulick Report that “there was no sign of similar signatures, and nothing led me to believe that this was a fixed election, that someone went to an extreme. It did just not appear that way at all.” Myers said ballots were not mailed by Boyer and Ritter but by the HBPA office. There were approximately 2,000 ballts sent out and 750 received, according to Myers. “I was the only one allowed to pick them up from the post office and bring them back to our office,” she said. “I had a team of individuals who opened the envelopes, checked the postmarks, check to see that the postmark was within a reasonable vicinity (of where the HBPA lived), and then enter the votes into a database. Todd Mostoller was not involved in the process at all, and we didn’t have a horse in the race.” Myers said her firm has no relationship to anyone on the HBPA board and none of its employees are involved in racing in any way. She said the ballots were kept for a year following the election, but that “I can’t tell you that I have the ballots any longer.”

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  • wallace

    Seems they “rig” plenty of things at PNat, so why not elections? When the feds start asking probing questions, with that bright white light shinning in one’s face, it’s probably different than being called to the Racing Commission office to sit and talk.

  • Dantana

    I’ve never been to Penn & don’t know any of the above people, so have no opinion.
    But I do know Cole Norman, and that sure sounds like him.

  • CP

    All of these scandals on the state levels makes it more than obvious we need NATIONAL oversight..

  • Sinking Ship

    Penn National has been a hotbed of so many illegal activities and so full of unsavory characters over the past several years that it could be the basis of a movie, don’t you think? The leading characters would be Mike Gill and Stephanie Beattie, with the supporting cast made up of Delahoussaye, Adamo, Wells, Paul Jenkins, and a variety of jockey agents. Film it in black and white, make it really dark and spooky, and it would be an instant hit. All you need is a catchy title – how ’bout “The Evil That Lurks Within” ??

  • http://www.teamvalor.com Barry Irwin

    What we need is for racing to rid itself of state oversight and make racetracks into private clubs and only invite owners, trainers and jockeys that they want to race. Then guys that are known to be undesirable won’t be allowed to race. By suspending due process, we risk going back to the dark ages. But you know what? Those dark ages are looking pretty good right about now!!! Participation in racing should not be a right, but a priviledge. If you own a restaurant you can deny service to any prospective customer. Racing should have that same system. Racing would be better off being run by elitist snobs from private clubs than be tainted any more by some the slobs mentioned above.

  • concerned

    The allegations against trainers at Penn National is sad for thoroughbred racing and sad for those who are honest horsemen in PA, a state that has supported the sport. Honesty in the sport needs to be enforced by regulators in all states for thoroughbred racing to survive and thrive.

  • pragmatist

    Hey Beattie,

    A little life lesson for you:

    People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones

  • jack

    any body ever wonder what happans to the plethora of horses that Beattie races. ? she had a lot of horses she can’t account for. so much for ” no slaughter ” policies.

  • Cris

    Now that the FBI is involved, Wallace is right, that white light is going to shine through stuff that alot of those folks were sure was long hidden. Corruption like this is not a big surprise, a small bush track starts making real money because of slots and folks get greedy. Anyone who shocks a horse to win races ought to be barred from racing forever. I don’t know anyone there, but I have seen horses that were subjected to this kind of treatment and racing should not tolerate people involved in such actions. PA needs to clean up their act. Even if half of these stories are untrue there are far too many stories going around for all to be untrue.

  • karmasucks

    The FBI does not get involved in “ex boyfriend/girlfriend” case’s ……there were multiple people testifying against her at the Grand Jury hearings. They all said the same thing..that is why the FBI is involved.

  • Ruffian

    Racing was once run by elitist snobs who sold out, leaving us saddled with what we have now…foxes in charge of their respective henhouses. And if you’re not in their “private clubs”, beware. What racing needs is more fair-minded competitors and a level playing field, not dominated by liars, cheats, thieves and chemists. If that means it’s time to institute national oversight, with a national commissioner (like every other sport), I’m all for it.

  • wallace

    What jockeys rode for Beattie when the shocks were allegedly administered during the races? Morning workout buzzer shocks, or in the stalls with an electrical device is just plain animal cruelty, but buzzing them during a race, that’s race fixing. Sounds like a law enforcement field day. So many things to look at in the PA horse racing scene.

  • voice of reason

    Heaven forbid we ask for National Oversight. Why should we? The stewards of our sport have proven themselves able to mandate control and foster integrity so well. Kudos for those holding the reigns! Decades of unregulated cheating and tweeking the system, all allowed… wait for it… by the system! (Except when they levied those $25 fines. Way to put some BITE in your actions!) Ass-hats, all of ‘em.

    We will NEVER have National oversight because so many people (many on this very board) hate the idea of Government ANYTHING. Without it, we are doomed to live ths continued cycle of mediocrity. We continue to spin in the drain.

  • datrack

    If Beattie is indeed guilty, I hope they drop the hammer and she serves time. It’s too bad for the honest people at Penn. that try and make a living. Until they clean up, they will never get a dime from me again.

  • elktonstable

    We are all witnessing the reform of racing inn the events in progress at Penn National and elsewhere. Although it is really unfortunate to uncover the corruption and incredibly vulgar measures some will utilize to win races, I am encouraged by the steps being taken right now by Penn National. There is still lots of work to be done and I sincerely wish the FBI, the PA Racing Commission and Penn National’s management the best of luck cleaning house. This action has been long overdue.

  • wallace

    I wonder if the other two racetracks in PA will have their racing programs and personnel, management and horsemen, analyzed, then reassembled like #17 says is a work in progress at Penn National? The sport is worth saving so here’s to the heavy lifting that needs to be done!

  • karmasucks

    She signed my ballot too. Check that signature also

  • s/s

    FBI is finally getting involved and will be prosecuting cheating trainers. A long time coming but the heat is on now.

  • http://yahoo roger

    Penn National is a Division 4 type track which is another reason to start separating tracks by wagering handle.I hope the FBI finds the TRUTH.

  • Hammertime

    I am finally glad to see that the F.B.I. is going to take part in this investigation. The bottom line is that the Dauphin County D.A.’s office completely covered up this investigation and the Pa. State Racing Commission is also on the take and won’t force any action. David Wells was instrumental in all of her success. Ms. Beattie couldn’t have trained a dog to roll over without David Wells input. I’m sure the F.B.I. probe will uncover all the corrupt activities at this Mickey Mouse track. the best thing that could happen here would be for racing to be shut down completely. Afterall, all of the wannabe trainers have contributed to this mess. you have supported Ms. Beattie and condoned her actions for years. Now you must live with the consequences.

  • U C It

    Who’s in charge at Penn National? Is there anyone there anymore who gives a flip about their racing product? I know they’re just a gaming company now but aren’t slots tied to their racing licenses somehow? This is horrible for racing and a disgrace to Penn National as a company.

  • http://https viper

    what I dont understand is , if the grand jury was meeting On GILL & his gang of misfits, How does it bring Wells , Beattie ,ex riders & jockeys in the mix. Did I miss something ?
    Something is not right here ! Maybe its time for the whole truth to come out & clean that rat hole of a race track up…. Mr.Wells you were a part of her team as I recall, so you bringing these allegations towards SB , is really you too, am I correct ? maybe you turned a blind eye, I dont know.. I always thought you two were great people & very good horse people & I still do !!
    What the Gill clowns were doing was disgustful,I saw horse after horse they would claim fall off the face of the earth in a matter of month’s, some never to be heard of again. When he left the(GILL) business we were able to buy a few just to give away as riding horses, cause they were ruined for racing. but if this(SB SHOCKING HORSES) is true this is’nt much different, cruelty is cruelty, no different than what M.Vick did with the dogfighting & he did time in jail…
    Lastly Mr.Wells did you really beat her up a couple of times as she stated ?…

  • MikeD

    Penn National is a cesspool. Anyone betting on that “product” should have their head examined.

  • Joe

    This is most HORRIBLE for the HORSES.

  • Wallace

    As some have suggested, can’t the signatures on the ballots be examined and matched up against other signatures on file for those supporedly casting a vote? Didn’t the horsemen’s association in Louisiana have a problem with one of it’s recent elections due to circumstances similar to those being alleged at Penn? Seems authorites could easily make these determinations.

  • Theyrunfast

    We recently got a horse from Beattie, private purchase, the horse was in good care, with no sign of anything criminal. Whether or not the accusations are true I have no idea. I do know its unfortunate anytime people go their seperate ways, and one party decides to put the other under the bus. Classless act.

  • http://https viper

    Also let me say that if I ever ever walked in a barn whether I worked there or somones else’s, & grooms , ex riders, asst., whoever were mistreating a horse,(ie. shocking a horse) I would’nt hesistate to kick there ass my self & call security on the spot. I’ve been around long enough, these horses have given me evrything I have in life &
    I OWE IT TO THEM , not turn my back & let them be abused in any way shape or form.

  • Whoneedsya

    Can Penn National be this bad? What the heck is going on there? Pull their gaming license and see how quickly things get cleaned up!!

  • Holy Bull

    Who runs Penn Nat? They should shut the whole place down until they figure this out. No horses in, No horses out DEFINATELY no trailers or vet wagons….

    How is it that they dont care what type of impression they give? If they allow cheating on Horse Racing why wouldn’t they allow cheating in the CASINO!!

  • Ruffian

    If you thought the Virginia earthquake rattled some cages, just wait till the Fibbies turn their spotlights on the other PA tracks. Talk about aftershocks (as opposed to the before ones alleged in this mess!)

  • The truth always comes out

    Ok, I was called in as the investigation started and I was one of the first to be questioned I was called in before david wells and the investigator was giving me the names of people asking me if I knew anything about the allegations being true…. I told them no. Imbue that it was not David wells that started the allegations against Stephanie beattie but it’s always easier to blame an ex…… Isn’t it. I believe that people reporting these stories need to get their stories and facts straight. Stop accusing people of saying things that they have never said. I was also at the grand jury hearing and I never once heard David say that Stephanie was shocking horses, he simply said that that is what he heard other people saying. Which is very true. I also believe that what happened in the relationship between David and stephanie should not be announced to the world and if you want to know make sire you get both sides of the story not just the story of the person trying to make themselves the innocent victim. Once again I would like to say get your facts straight before posting lies and slandering the people you are talking about.

  • The truth always comes out

    The only way to really get the truth is to give a lie detector test to everyone who worked with Stephanie at that time….. I say bring it on

  • RUFingKidding

    Steph. Beattie has always run a pretty good operation.Played the claiming game like the pro she is. Wells was a tag-a-long for years until she dumped him. Then he stalked her( deleted) and started running his mouth. (deleted)

  • Hammertime

    Are there any racetracks in america that allow one or two owners to have up to 14 trainers on the backside? I know of NONE!! Another problem that has allowed an agent to monopolize an entire backside. Penn gaming and the State Racing commission has known this and will do nothing about it. Even most of the jock agents are dirty with the excrption of a few.

  • jim culpepper

    Last week I listened to a law professor, Dr. James Duane lecture on why an innocent person should never talk to the police, and for the last decade, I watched federal agencies trash third grade math, habeaus corpus and the constitution in general, so I will withhold my hallelujahs for the Feds, even though living here in Tennessee Walking Horse country, I can hardly be more more cynical towards pro horsemen or women.

  • Hammertime

    In response to the comment from THE TRUTH ALWAYS COMES OUT, your comment holds no value at all. You weren’t present when David Wells gave his grand jury testimony so you aren’t in a position to say that David Wells didn’t mention Stephanie Beattie shocking horses. Only the PSP investigator, The First Assistant D.A., and the grand jury heard his testimony.

  • karmasucks

    @ RUFingKidding
    wow he”has ben a tag a long” he has always had a high percentage trainer and the ONLY time SB every made it to leading traing was when HE WAS WITH HER!!!!!! He was NEVER CONVICTED of abuse as she alleges…(deleted) Now will all the groom s of hers that “told the truth ” go to jail for perjury when the FBI does lie dector test???? Wow your county better make room in their jail for that…..The truth will come out!!!! (deleted) why don’t you stop drinking the koolaide and learn the real truth :)

  • Charli125

    To “The Truth Always Comes Out”

    If what you say is true, why the hell didn’t you and “the other people around the barn” come forward at the time. It’s great for all of these people to come out of the woodwork talking about how they’ve seen this person and that person doing such and such illegal things.

    You’re all to blame for allowing it to happen while you sat their with your mouths shut. To come out and act superior to the people committing the crimes, while you sat and let it happen is chickensh*t.

  • Phar Lap

    More HBPA shenanigans. And we want these guys coming up with their own medication policy? Sheesh…

  • karmasucks

    This whole report is nothing but lies…check the court records… you would think RAY PAULICK would do that before he printed such allegations ….NO D. Wells was NEVER convicted of abuse. NO he is not a “tag a long” she only made leading trainer with his help…No he is not a stalker….He is a great rainer that does always does well….get the facts !!!!

  • dee

    Gill had one thing right “your opening a can of worms” that nobody at penn wants open. When investigation continues more truth will come out. Allegations suggest that beattie had a srong hand in the jockey boycott.One thing is for sure its goin to get ugly.

  • Hammertime

    In response to the comment from THE TRUTH ALWAYS COMES OUT, your comment holds no value at all. You weren’t present when David Wells gave his grand jury testimony so you aren’t in a position to say that David Wells didn’t mention Stephanie Beattie shocking horses. Only the PSP investigator, The First Assistant D.A., and the grand jury heard his testimony.

  • Beck

    Wow if Wells was told about it several times and has known “something” for years. Hope he gets his too. You only report something after you are dumped? Either this is a pathetic group or one pathetic dumped boyfriend. Sammy Colon was so bad he hired him. That’s nice.

  • pick six bettor

    Pennsylvania racing needs some serious reevaluation. Whenever states get casino gambling their racing product suffers. When you have large purses, cheap races, short fields that equals CORRUPTION!

  • dee

    Beattie has a lot of nerve saying she doesn’t want to be mention in the same category as Adamo. What nobody realizes that when the boycot occurred, she had more break downs than Adamo.

  • Wallace

    According to the firm that received the ballots they are now gone? The local HBPA office must still have them.

  • bookiebuster1

    Okay step one subpoena Cole Norman at once he will sing because no matter what he has zero vested interest in any of these people EXCEPT himself as always. Cole has made his money from this situation already. Big plus he is no doubt on probation and depending on what he has done could he be in violation of said probation? Hmmm more so if he didn’t go through proper channels to be in PA. to begin with which i seriously doubt. The feds or DA have serious leverage on him if they go that route.

    Hey Ray any interest in interviewing Cole to get his side of the story? For some reason heis getting a pass which make me wonder if he is already lawyered up.

  • Equine Avenger

    ““The racing commission already talked with a bunch of my grooms about four months ago, and also called in my assistant, each for over two hours,” Beattie said. “I told everyone to go in, tell the truth, and don’t lie. I’m not worried.””

    Yeah, im sure that’s what you told them. /rolls eyes

  • Equine Avenger

    “According to testimony, the alleged ringleader of the illegal activity involving Gill’s horses was the owner’s farm trainer, Cole Norman, who was not eligible to obtain a license because of a felony conviction for negligent homicide, in connection with a fatal automobile accident while he was under the influence of drugs. Jesse Benitez, an assistant trainer at Gill’s Elk Creek Ranch, said he observed Norman preparing the so-called milk shakes that accompanied horses vanning from the farm to Penn National. Ronald Bocanegra, a groom at the farm, said he was operating at the direction of Norman when he would administer the milk shakes to horses racing at Penn National. Milk shakes, or bicarbonate loading, are designed to reduce lactic acid building and prevent horses from tiring.”

    Well they are trying to make Cole Norman the scapegoat. Although Cole Norman came with his own bag of tricks when Gill hired him, he did as Tony Adamo had instructed him too. Norman was by no means the band leader.

  • Rapid Redux

    When am I running again?

  • tackshop

    Hopefully, the FBI will get to the bottom of this and get rid of the bad actors.

    • Tupac Shakur 1996

      The FBI NEEDS TO LOOK AT EVANGELINE DOWNS RACING OFFICIALS AND BOYD GAMING REAL GOOD WITH A FINE TOOTH COMB

  • tackshop

    While the FBI is at it, an audit of the HBPA office including the National HBPA might not be a bad idea. Look at what happened in Louisiana when the Executive Director and President of the LA HBPA rigged the election and stole the horsemen’s funds for their own use. How much oversight of HBPA’s is there anyway? Obviously very little or not enough and needs to be looked into.

  • http://https viper

    Now I’m really confused !!!!
    Is S.Beattie being accused of shocking horse’s before races or fixing the HBPA elections ?

  • tackshop

    Sounds like both. Also, in the past I hear she was not able to produce several horses that were suspected of being sent to slaughter. A person would think that would be easy enough to prove, just produce the horse or horses. Where are they?

  • Todd Mostoller

    The PA HBPA is required by law (Act 71- slot legislation) to submit a Fiscal Year audit within 90 days of its completed fiscal year which runs July 1 – June 30. We engage one of the top CPA Firms in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Boyer & Ritter. Boyer & Ritter has the responsibility of auditing the Pennsylvania Lottery. This same firm conducted the election.
    The PA HBPA has taken our responsibility to our membership and the State of Pennsylvania very seriously. We have done our due diligence to ensure our financials accurately represent the operations of the PA HBPA and have always obtained the highest audit opinion possible from our auditors.
    The alleged allegations in Louisiana are unfortunate, but please do not group the PA HBPA or other affiliates with that affiliate.

  • http://https viper

    Tackshop, shocking horses, fixed HBPA election ,
    now you’re saying she sent horses to slaughter, who you working for ?
    There you heard it from Todd, any questions !!! bases sound like they’re covered

  • Indulto

    “…horses in her care were administered electric shocks before races, making them run faster when the shocks were simulated again during a race.”

    It appears that someone read Dick Francis’s novel, “For Kicks,” one time too many.

    At least horsemen hold elections in PA. Thats more than than can be said of CA. One can only hope the FBI’s involvement here paves the way for Federal intervention and oversight of racing.

  • Goldtreasure

    This woman is disgusting. I own one of the horses she sent to slaughter. I have my mares race winning pictures with her face smiling away.

    • rudy holmberg

      your an idiot i know that lady and she is a wonderful person

  • Michael Infurna

    Anyone that can win 30% of her starts with reduced numbers and training broken down horses is truly
    a miracle worker!!

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