‘He Lied Like Nobody’s Business’: A Racing Con Man and His Trail of Deception

by | 08.11.2014 | 1:15am
Jonathan Pippin appeared in the winner's circle after Game On Dude's 2014 Santa Anita Handicap victory

Five months ago, Jonathan Pippin was living large. A small-time Ohio grifter who had convinced a handful of Twitter followers to invest in horses he didn't own, Pippin had been working for months at hooking a bigger fish, one of the largest in all of horse racing. And so that's how he found himself as a guest in the Southern California home of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and wife Jill on one of the most important racing weekends of the Santa Anita Park winter meeting, Big ‘Cap day on March 8.

How Pippin traveled from a world of bottom-level claimers at Thistledown and Mountaineer Park to the Santa Anita Handicap winner's circle alongside Game On Dude and American racing's most famous trainer is a tale of deceit, opportunism and unmitigated gall. It's a bewildering story of social media gone wrong, fake email accounts, online bullying, secretly recorded tapes and voice changing machines. Those who crossed Pippin's path of deceit included a handful of eager young horseplayers wanting to own a piece of a racehorse, Bob and Jill Baffert, prominent horse owner Maggi Moss, New York Times turf writer Joe Drape, racing publicist Kelly Wietsma, California Horse Racing Board Equine Medical Director Dr. Rick Arthur, and this writer, among others.

Modern-Day Flim-Flam Man
It's hard to tell fact from fiction when it comes to the 27-year-old Pippin, a 21st Century flim-flam man who uses false or embellished stories about him on the Internet to enhance his reputation, telling people to “Google horse racing and Jonathan Pippin.” (He has also been known to go by the name of Jon Hughes, JO Michael, Jon Michael, Jonathan Pittman or Jon Pittman.)

One article, published prior to the 2010 Kentucky Derby on the gambling911.com website, said Pippin was co-owner with Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman of Baffert-trained two-time champion Lookin At Lucky. Pippin had zero ownership interest in Lookin At Lucky, but that piece of misinformation was published on a number of other websites, including an examiner.com Kentucky Derby preview.

Pippin used those articles to convince people he was a horseracing bigshot who rubbed elbows with Baffert, a man he had yet to meet.

A high school football player at Berne Union in Sugar Grove, Ohio, who set team records for punt and kickoff returns in 2004, Pippin befriended some Cleveland Browns players several years ago, bragging to them of his expertise in the sport of kings and getting them to invest in a racing partnership. Pippin Jordan Hodges Racing (named after himself, Reggie Hodges and Jordan Norwood) was featured in several online articles, including a November 2011 story that appeared in Yardbarker.com.

The connections of Pippin Jordan Hodges with one of their winning horses

The connections of Pippin Jordan Hodges with one of their winning horses

“(Hodges) Googled me to make sure I wasn't lying to him about being (involved with race horses), and once he did that, I didn't do any sell job,” Pippin was quoted as saying.

On May 2, 2012, an article in Pippin's hometown paper, the Logan (Ohio) Daily, under the headline “A Local Connection to the Run for the Roses,” said Pippin was “affiliated, through WinStar Farms, with (Kentucky Derby starter) Gemologist.”

Pippin had nothing to do with WinStar or Gemologist.

The reported size of the partnership's stable grew almost as quickly as Pinocchio's nose.

The November 2011 story in Yardbarker said Pippin Jordan Hodges Racing had 48 horses in training, including 14 2-year-olds. By the following spring when Pippin talked to Logan Daily editor Craig Dunn for the Gemologist story, the stable reportedly owned 100 horses.

In truth, Pippin Jordan Hodges had 68 starts during its two-year existence in 2011-12, winning 17 low-level claiming races and earning $170,634 in purses at Thistledown, Presque Isle Downs and Mountaineer Park. Its pro football investors took a bath.

 

‘How Can You Believe a Liar?'
When the stable dissolved, trainer Jeffrey Radosevich said Pippin owed him $18,000 in unpaid bills.  Radosevich said Pippin wrote a check from the Pippin Jordan Hodges Racing account, but it bounced because of non-sufficient funds.

“He owed me a lot of money,” Radosevich said. “He owes a lot of people money.”

Reggie Hodges and Jordan Norwood declined to comment on their experiences with Pippin for this article.

Pippin purchased three yearlings at the 2011 Keeneland September Sale for a total of $12,500. Ownership in one of the horses, an $8,500 Jump Start gelding named Go Duke Go, was transferred to Radosevich's J.R. Racing LLC prior to the horse making his first start in May 2013.

Gemologist, an undefeated 2013 Kentucky Derby contender, was one of the horses Pippin was erroneously connected with

Gemologist, an undefeated 2013 Kentucky Derby contender, was one of the horses Pippin was erroneously connected with

“I signed that horse over to pay the bills I owed,” Pippin told the Paulick Report recently.

That didn't keep Pippin from selling shares in the horse.

In early 2013, Pippin was active on Twitter through an account known as @BacksideTips, engaging horseplayers and posting selections and success stories on winning bets. He approached some of his Twitter followers about putting money up to join a partnership that would claim a horse or two. He offered ownership interests in Go Duke Go to several of them.

A number of people took the hook, sending Pippin amounts ranging from $250 to $5,000. None of those who spoke with the Paulick Report were sent receipts, bills of sale, contracts or invoices for training costs or other expenses. One was promised half interest in a horse that was never claimed, others were to receive 5 percent shares toward another claim (one that was never made), or as much as 15 percent ownership of Go Duke Go.

“My ignorance of ownership led to this,” said one of the investors who asked not to be named. “I was just naïve. Jonathan has a personality much like any con artist. He was schmoozing, working it the whole time. All the while, my gut was like, ‘Geez, what have I got myself into.' He lied like nobody's business.”

Dusty Owens followed Pippin on Twitter and said he looked to him as something of a horseracing mentor, based on his purported experience as part-owner of Lookin At Lucky. He paid $250 for a 5 percent share in a claiming partnership, then put up another $250 after Pippin promised him 2 percent of Go Duke Go and 5 percent of a third horse named Heaven Dew. To top if off, Owens said Pippin told him he wouldn't be responsible for any training costs on Go Duke Go.

“I thought that if it's too good to be true, it's too good to be true,” Owens said. “But Jon said, ‘Don't worry about it. I'm trying to get you interested in the ownership side.' I looked him up online and it seemed like he did things right.”

Owens and others who thought they owned a piece of Go Duke Go were thrilled when the gelding won his fifth start, a maiden special weight race with a $21,000 winner's share at Presque Isle Downs on Aug. 11, 2013. He'd been knocking at the door before that, with two seconds and a third. But the best was yet to come.

After earning minor awards in allowance company at Thistledown and Mountaineer Park in September, Go Duke Go won back-to-back allowance races at Mountaineer, earning more than $27,000.

The partners started asking Pippin questions about how much they would be getting from the nearly $70,000 Go Duke Go had earned.

“Jon tells me, ‘Fees (training and veterinary costs) are high,'” Owens said. “I reminded him of the deal he gave me that I wasn't going to be responsible for any expenses in that horse. He says ‘I'll put a check in the mail tomorrow,' and of course the check didn't come.”

Jonathan Pippin with Go Duke Go

Jonathan Pippin with Go Duke Go

Owens pushed further, calling stewards at Thistledown and Presque Isle Downs, who told him Go Duke Go was solely owned by trainer Radosevich's J.R. Racing. “Then I got some mind-blowing information from a steward at Mountaineer,” Owens said. “He told me, ‘I've got a bill of sale from Radosevich to Pippin dated October 2013.'”

That was after the second of the two allowance wins and before Go Duke Go was entered to run in the Sophomore Sprint Championship Stakes, in which he finished third, earning $8,500. After two starts in Pippin's name, ownership in Go Duke Go reverted back to J.R. Racing.

Owens called Pippin and the two had what Owens said was a heated argument. “He says, ‘You screwed me bad. The horse had been running under hidden ownership and (stewards) are going to have a hearing for me,'” Owens recalled Pippin telling him. “He sends me text messages stating he's going to send me back my original buy-in just to get rid of me. I said, ‘You owe me 2 percent of all of Go Duke Go's winnings and I'm curious about the other two horses that I'm supposed to be part of.”

Owens started talking with others who had sent Pippin money and heard similar tales. No one had gotten an accounting for what Pippin had done with their investments, whether they owned shares of Go Duke Go or other horses Pippin said he was going to claim on their behalf. It wasn't until some of them threatened to go to the stewards or law enforcement that he returned money to any of them. Some, like Owens, eventually got a full refund. No one shared in Go Duke Go's earnings, which now stand at just over $90,000.

“He didn't own Go Duke Go,” Radosevich said of Pippin. “J.R. Racing owns that horse. There is no Jonathan Pippin on that horse or any other horse in my barn.”

Yet Pippin, when asked about Go Duke Go's ownership, said J.R. Racing “is mine and Jeff's. We have horses together. It's what we run our horses under.”

“He ain't worth a shit,” Radosevich said, when asked about Pippin. “I could have taken him to civil court but I'm a nice guy. I ate money saving his ass. How can you believe a liar?”

 

Fake Emails, Lies and Videotape
Meanwhile, Pippin was moving on to bigger names in racing. He read on social media that Maggi Moss needed help in retiring a horse she formerly owned named Fuhrever Dancing. Moss was concerned the horse had fallen into a bad situation at Mountaineer Park.

“Out of the blue, I got messages from this guy (Pippin's Twitter account @BacksideTips),” Moss said. “He told me he could get it done. He said he went to Mountaineer and talked to the guy and got him to sell the horse to me.”

Moss, an attorney who describes herself as a tough, former prosecutor, talked with Pippin about horses and animal welfare issues. “Pippin absolutely was convincing, really good, in winning my trust in the Herculean efforts he said he did to help me retire this horse when no one else could,” she said.

Maggi Moss: "Pippin absolutely was convincing"

Maggi Moss: “Pippin absolutely was convincing”

Not long after, Pippin asked Moss if she had any horses for sale. She had a couple, Tricolette and Ide Love Lucy, she told him, and they agreed on a price. The horses were moved, but she was still waiting to be paid when Tricolette showed up in the entries at Turfway Park under Pippin's name as owner. Moss called Pippin, threatening to turn him in to the stewards unless he paid up. He quickly wired funds, but how the foal papers were transferred to Pippin's name remains a mystery. Moss never signed them and suspects Pippin forged her signature. After a copy of Tricolette's papers were provided to Maggi Moss, she pointed out it looked nothing like her signature and, in fact, her first name appeared to be misspelled as “Magie.”

Pippin's most outrageous scam was reserved for Bob and Jill Baffert. The couple felt stung when Bob Baffert was subjected to intense media scrutiny in the spring of 2013 after reports surfaced of seven horses from his barn dying sudden deaths over a 16-month period from November 2011 to March 2013. Baffert hired Englander Knabe & Allen, a Los Angeles crisis management firm, to help him get through the media storm.

In the meantime, Pippin aggressively defended Baffert through his @BacksideTips account on Twitter and befriended Jill Baffert through social media. To gain her confidence, he texted screenshots from his phone of fake emails, hoping to convince her a clandestine conspiracy existed among reporters covering the sudden deaths, and the CHRB's equine medical director, Dr. Rick Arthur, who was conducting an investigation of Baffert's stable.

Pippin created email accounts in other people's names (including this writer), then fabricated messages suggesting a coordinated effort to destroy Baffert's reputation. Pippin used screenshots of the fake emails, which kept the names of the sender and recipient visible, but did not show the actual email addresses.

One of the fake emails Pippin provided to the Bafferts was dated June 21, 2013, on a fictional Ray Paulick account and addressed to Jonathan Pippin.  It said: “Jon, I received your email and I think we need to stay on the story and tarnish (Bob Baffert) and his family. If the CHRB won't release any details I will come up with things. I have two current trainers on the So Cal circuit that can't stand BB. They are willing to talk to any media and try and get Bob banned from competition. He is a disease within the racing industry. – Ray”

One of Pippin's fake emails

One of Pippin's fake emails

The screenshot of Pippin's fake email was provided to the Paulick Report by Bob Baffert Aug. 3, 2014 after Baffert was asked about his relationship to Pippin. “You can add this to your story,” Baffert said in a text message.

Told the email was a fake written by Pippin on a fictitious account, Baffert responded via text message: “Either you're not telling the truth about the email or you had contact with him and didn't know it.”

Baffert has not responded to subsequent calls, text messages, or emails about his relationship with Pippin. Calls, phone messages and emails to Jill Baffert were not returned. Steve Schwartz, an attorney for the Bafferts, would not comment beyond saying it is a “confidential” matter.

(For the record, my only direct contact with Jonathan Pippin, prior to recent discussions for the purposes of this story, was a January 2012 phone call from Pippin in which he was seeking publicity for his partnership with NFL players.)

The fake emails helped Pippin gain the confidence of Jill Baffert, who actively defended her husband on Twitter in the wake of the sudden death investigation. Pippin, through his @BacksideTips account, joined in the defense, aggressively attacking people who questioned why so many horses in one barn had dropped dead.

Early this year, an anonymous Twitter account, @DannyStars2012, did more than defend Baffert. It began putting personal information on Twitter about people who were perceived as critics of the trainer – including where they lived or worked and knowledge of their children's activities. Some said they received threatening phone calls.

One of those was horse racing publicist Kelly Wietsma, whose clients include leading trainer Todd Pletcher. Wietsma was mystified as to why she was being stalked by the @DannyStars2012 Twitter account. “Scared the crap out of me because I couldn't believe someone was able to find my phone number and track me down,” Wietsma said. “I never did call the police but was ready to do so if I heard from him again.”

The online attacks came to a crescendo in February and March, around the time Pippin was invited by the Bafferts to fly out to California and be their guest on Big ‘Cap weekend.

Shortly after Pippin's visit, the horse racing world was rocked by the secretly recorded videotapes of the Steve Asmussen stable by an operative working for PETA. Rumors surfaced almost immediately that the Baffert stable had been “bugged,” too.

Bob and Jill Baffert

Bob and Jill Baffert

In late March, New York Times turf writer Joe Drape received an anonymous email from someone claiming to have hours of secretly taped conversations from the Baffert stable. Drape gave out his telephone number to the anonymous contact and told him to call.

The individual contacted Drape through a blocked telephone number and used voice-changing equipment to disguise his identity while discussing the tape. A snippet of the audio tape was played. Drape said the voice on the tape appeared to be Baffert's but that there was nothing suggesting untoward activities going on in the barn.

A few days later, audio from the tape was put online, and a new, anonymous Twitter account posted a link to it with the message that it was part of a secret recording of the Baffert stable.

Baffert got wind of the tape and determined that Pippin must have been the responsible party. He beefed up barn security, hired private investigator Chris Mandala and retained attorney Schwartz to write a cease and desist letter to Pippin, after Pippin had returned to Ohio from Southern California.

The letter was served to Pippin the first week of April. Within days, Bob Baffert dropped his @MidnightLute Twitter account, Jill Baffert dropped her @JillBaffert account, and Jonathan Pippin dropped his @BacksideTips account. @DannyStars2012 disappeared at the same time, too. And Joe Drape got an email from the person claiming to have the audiotape, saying it was time to “cool it.”

Earlier, Pippin had told an acquaintance the Bafferts paid him “a large amount of money to keep an eye on Twitter” for them. When asked by the Paulick Report if he received any money from Bob or Jill Baffert, Pippin said it was something he couldn't discuss because of the agreement he had signed with the Bafferts in April. Bob Baffert declined to answer questions about any alleged payments but privately told friends Pippin had “scammed” his wife for months. Asked about his relationship with Pippin Aug. 3 at the races at Del Mar, Baffert growled, “I'm not going to talk about that f—ing guy.”

 

‘I Was an Idiot'
In three separate conversations with the Paulick Report, Pippin admitted he set up fake email accounts and made a videotape recording of Baffert with his phone during his March visit to the stable at Santa Anita, then posted a short audio clip on the Internet. But Pippin insisted he had done nothing wrong in his racing partnerships.

When asked why he sold shares in horses he did not own, Pippin repeatedly said, “Everybody was paid back.” Everybody? “Well, there's one guy who is getting his money back this week,” he admitted.

The ownership group of Baffert trainee Lookin at Lucky included (left to right) Paul Weitman, Karl Watson, and Mike Pegram, but not Pippin

The ownership group of Baffert trainee Lookin at Lucky included (left to right) Paul Weitman, Karl Watson, and Mike Pegram, but not Pippin

Pippin said he “did not own any part” of Lookin At Lucky, despite telling countless people he was a co-owner. How did that misinformation show up online? “I don't know. That was four years ago,” he said.

What about Gemologist and the story in a small-town Ohio paper saying he was “part of the ownership group”? “I never said I owned Gemologist,” Pippin said. “I said I liked him.”

As for his relationship with the Bafferts, Pippin said the cease and desist letter that he signed in April meant he agreed never to contact the Bafferts or talk about them to anyone. “I'm going to respect the letter,” he said.

Pippin did say the letter required him to “delete any voice mails or texts from Jill or Bob.” He said he turned all of those communications over to his attorney.

However, after Pippin learned that Baffert had supplied one of the fake emails to the Paulick Report, Pippin left the following voice message suggesting Baffert may have violated the terms of the cease-and-desist agreement that Pippin signed: “If you'd like to write a story about everything and the whole reason about me and Bob Baffert, I have voice mails from Bob and Jill, emails and text messages. A lot of things. If they are going to throw me under the bus, I talked to my lawyer and said if they're sharing things, I'm allowed to share things legally.”

Pippin, in a subsequent conversation, declined to provide any of the communications he claimed to have in his possession.

Why, Pippin was asked, did he create email accounts in the names of other people, fabricate messages and send them to the Bafferts as if they were written by reporters covering the Baffert sudden deaths or a CHRB regulator investigating the case?

“There was no point,” Pippin said. “It's why I got in trouble.”

“There was no point,” Pippin said. “It's why I got in trouble.”

“It was stupid of me,” Pippin said. “I was an idiot. People were trying to find out what was going on with the sudden deaths. There was so much stuff, people were talking.”

And, finally, why did he record a seemingly innocuous conversation with Bob Baffert and post it on the Internet, then try to get a prominent horse racing writer interested in the tape?

“There was no point,” he said. “It's why I got in trouble.”

Pippin said the whole affair has left him a broken man.

“I was a jackass,” Pippin said. “I lost my fiancée of seven years over this. I had to move back in with my family.”

To date, no action has been taken against Pippin in any of the four states where he is licensed: Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

His former trainer, Radosevich, said he continues to see Pippin at the track every day. Others have spotted Pippin recently at the Presque Isle Down gambling tables.

Why does he continue to go to the track when he said he is in debt and broke?

“That's all there is for me,” he said. “It's all I know.”
(Editor's Note: Following publication of this article, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has put a “stop” on Jonathan Pippin's owners license and will require that he appear before the License Review Committee if he seeks to renew that license.)

  • Tinky

    Remarkable story, and naming a horse “Pippin Jordan Hodges” was definitely one of his most appalling offenses.

    • Barbara Bowen

      He named a horse as well as his stable with that moniker?

      • RayPaulick

        No. The caption on a photo referred to Pippin Jordan Hodges connections (the stable).

        • Barbara Bowen

          Thanks Ray. I thought so but was confused by Tinky’s comment.

          • Old Timer

            That’s because Tinky usually is confusing and never makes any logical sense. hahahahaha

            The real question is why does he have a whooping 9up votes on his comments!!! Lemmings I swear…

          • Barbara Bowen

            LOL. The (now) 9 confused me more than Tinky. I wondered what I had missed?

          • Don Reed

            Because a high % of the time, he makes shrewd comments/sense.
            You, on the other hand, have never said anything memorable.

        • Tinky

          oops! My bad.

  • Kate Downey Corcoran

    Can’t believe this guy is still a licensed owner. What a fascinating, horrible story… thanks for bringing it into the light, Ray.

    • Terri

      President Obama could use this guy as his spokesman.

      • betterthannothing

        Or to do the dirty work for whoever will replace (or has replaced) Lois Lerner at the IRS.

      • Travis

        ugh there is always some idiot who brings politics into this.

  • Bman

    Can’t help but think of the 3 Stooges episode when they’re always calling, “Dr Fine, Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine” and the nurse with the hiccups asks the stooges, “Do you know what a Pippin is? It’s an apple with the core on the outside!” This guy has not core or soul. He needs to seek out at least 3 doctors, all mental health professionals and figure out some things.

    • Don Reed

      “I owe you five!”
      “I owe you five!”
      “And I owe you five!”I

  • jupiter tom

    Pippin probably assumed (and rightly) that the prominent people involved would not take him to court. The big name plaintiffs would have to appear in court, answer questions, use up their valuable time, etc. etc. It would be easier for them to take their losses and just get rid of this guy. It sounds like Pippin is the kind of guy who plead not guilty and threaten to drag out a trial.

  • DawnP

    Wow, this is an American Greed episode waiting to be aired! Great show by the way. If there is one thing I’ve learned in all my years of watching said show, it’s this: anyone can get scammed. It doesn’t matter who you are, how smart you are, or how rich you are. You may be God’s gift to your business community, but con artists know how to hook you. Then when they’re caught, their attitude is “moi?!” That this guy is still running around unsupervised is outrageous.

    • Paula Marie

      Dawn, I agree with you on that. I love American Greed and cannot wait to see if it gets picked up.

    • glimmerglass

      If he grifted a seven-figure plus fortune from noted owners perhaps he’d merit citation on the show. Yet when you look at the numbers involved this is relatively small time. That by no means make it any less appalling and by no means acceptable. The crime of impersonation and deceit above money is what is more offensive to the greater audience here.

      In terms of a shocking swindle I’d point to Tony Young who plied his trade against the likes of Augustin Stables owner Geo Strawbridge Jr. See November 23, 2009, issue of Fortune magazine feature (“A Scandal Rocks the Polo Set”)

    • diastu in tempe

      Why is this guy still upright? (Read into that whatever you wish.)

  • pete mac

    You got to wonder about BB decision making ability and the folks he hangs around with? My guess the tip of the iceberg. Reall he want to pay some one to monitor Twitter. PARANOID

    • betterthannothing

      I wish he had been far more worried about researching all potential side effects of his medication/supplement program or at least had improved its safety after his first horse dropped dead or his second or his third.

      • Sharon M

        What makes you think he wasn’t lying about that, too? This guy makes a living out of lying.

        • betterthannothing

          Great but terribly sad point!

    • Sharon M

      What makes you think he wasn’t lying about that, too? This guy makes a living out of lying.

  • Paula Marie

    Great report, Ray – and I can honestly say, I never got flim-flammed by this guy. I can’t believe the people who did, though. It’s baffling.

    • Mike

      Or “bafferting’….lol

      • Paula Marie

        I’m trying to find out how this guy kept getting his name listed as an “owner” for Lookin’ at Lucky. It’s “baffling” or “bafferting” how many times this appears when you Google this guy.

        • Barbara Bowen

          You’d think that might have been a telling tip for Jill and Bob?

        • LongTimeEconomist

          It was all on social media, where lazy reporters often look for information. And, if the Bafferts weren’t suspicious of him, there wouldn’t have been much reason to Google him.

  • Love this story. What better world for a con artist to operate in than one where people live for their dream to come true? Great fodder for another mystery novel!

    • SusanKayne

      WOW …. Outline for your next script Sasscer!

    • nosyjme

      Yep… Plenty to fill a couple Sasscer Hill novels Linda :)

  • Cgriff

    This is right out of American Hustle, Ray!

    You have done a masterful investigative job in getting this story. Astounding how one small time penny-ante grifter could so easily bamboozle Maggie Moss (an attorney) and literally get in the guest bedroom of Bob and Jill Baffert! I could understand how eager wannabe owners would fall for fake ownership and that reporters in small town papers might be sloppy and not check ownership facts on big time horses like Lookin at Lucky and Gemologist…..but to talk your way into Baffert’s home – especially since Jill is supposedly very “media savvy” – as their special guest? Wow. Proof that anyone can be suckered if they want to believe enough in the right “hook.”

    And I’m not totally surprised that Pippin hasn’t been charged – many might be too embarrassed to want even more of their incredible duping out in the open, and some of the other stuff might not be technically illegal if all monies were repaid. What a piece of work Pippin is, though. Yuk.

    In the meantime – you need to start working on your screenplay of this! This is pure entertainment gold…for everyone but those who were suckered, that is!

    • biggar

      Nobody said that Pippin was in Baffert’s home except you. Inviting someone to be their guest for Big Cap weekend doesn’t necessarily translate to that person using the guest bedroom.

      • Inaccurate. Re-read the first paragraph of the story.

        • biggar

          Your both right and I was wrong. That happens sometimes. I’ll try to do better.

  • Greg J.

    Thank you Ray for bringing to light this fraud Pippen.

    This guy was a master at lying to people, me included. Besides somehow
    getting my private cell number and calling me warning me to stop writing
    about Baffert, he sent me the link to fake
    Baffert audio clip and even disguised his number on calling ID having
    it show up as a court in Los Angeles when he said Baffert was suing me.

    Don’t feel sorry for this guy at all, thanks again Ray.

  • Thoroughbred Watch Dog

    You write this story yet refuse to write the story about how Michael Iavarone, Sanford Robbins and Heather Larson swindled John Roberts out of $1.5 million. Or the story about the gentleman who was swindled for $10,000 by Robert Hachmeister of Drawing Away Stables. You have the information. Write the stories.

  • Mike

    For as long as there have been high-stakes games there will be high-stakes scams. For the scamsters, its not as much the money as it it is the notoriety – albeit short lived – of being in the mix with these high-stakes players. In many ways, I love my humble and quiet life full of boredom, selling used cars and trying to take down the pick-six with a few long-time friends in the same broke boat as me. :) Thanks Ray for exposing this jerk. Without articles like yours and investigative reporting we would leave the door open for these jokers to continue their deception. Blessings.

  • Marlaine Meeker

    Can’t the Jockey Club put a lifetime ban on this guy? At least limiting his ability to operate. How exactly was he exposed. Great article. Scary.

    • Larry Ensor

      The Jockey Club has little to no power over anything to do with the racing side of Thoroughbreds. It is one thing and one thing only, the Thoroughbred Breed Registry. For the longest time it did not even keep race records, PPs. Until it created the for profit company, Equineline, Equinebase. The only ban it can impose on someone is the ability to register a Thoroughbred. But it can not ban someone from breeding Thoroughbreds. It is a privately owned company that answers only to itself.

      Not even the racing side of the industry can “blanket” ban someone. Each racing jurisdiction/state has it’s individual “standards” for granting a license. Most honor another state’s suspension/ban but they don’t have to.

      • Marlaine Meeker

        Thank you Larry Ensor for that info.

      • Birdy2

        Exactly. I mean, the JC did what it could to Broberg and Miyadi which put not a dent in their operations. At least the JC tried… which is more than I can say for the CHRB or TxRC.

    • Prime Equine

      The Jockey Club can rescind his stud book privileges.

  • Satch

    The horse racing business is more comparable to the financial services industry than to any other entertainment business. Standardized regulation across the industry would probably help, but certainly wouldn’t cure all evils. People are still getting fleeced in the stock market, despite the presence of the SEC.

    • betterthannothing

      Goldman Sachs is bigger than the SEC including in politics.

      • guest

        Except that Goldman Sachs was one of the few who didn’t actually need the bailout money that was shoved down all of their throats. Maybe Bear Stearns would be a better analogy.

        • Don Reed

          BS was denied a bailout, and that worked so splendidly, the survivors were forced to accept them.

          In a related note, I figure Dick Fuld has about another 30 years to go before his name no longer shines in the dark in a field of manure.

  • HappyHarriett

    There is someone right now that I know personally who is not only a big time lying scammer who has a large default judgment against him for bad naughty horse dealings, but – get this – he WORKS AT SANTA ANITA RACE TRACK and HRTV and writes for a well known handicapper.

    He recently scammed some very highly placed financial types and got away with it because, as other commentary suggests, it’s cheaper to walk away and leave it alone than it is to pursue it.

    And he holds a license which I won’t specifically identify as to type.

    This is 100% true – because after being a “friend” of mine and my doing untold favors for him over the years, he managed to scam me, too, and get this – took a payment from me for a horse which he put in his own checking account and later used that money to PAY ME MONEY HE OWED ME! Yes! And I have lots of degrees and good intuition – but sociopathic narcissistic con men will figure you out and capitalize on your good nature and belief in the good in others.

    :::still shaking my head::: And he continues plying his “trade” and the shyster Trainers he associates with know all this about him, and participate in the cover ups.

    This article was great, but trust me – this guy Pippin had plenty of other people around him who knew all or most of what he was doing and sat back and did nothing, or colluded. THAT is the travesty of the horse business – that no one will stand up shoulder to shoulder and clean up these messes.

    I was the ONLY person who did the research and found out the entire story of this guy and what a loser he was, and what happened? NOTHING! No one was willing to take him to task. And yes, he did give me my money back. He stole it from someone else, and paid me back. True story.

    • Richard C

      Look at how the New York-based Karakorum Racing disbanded, with company officials fleeing into the night – after disconnecting the phones….while leaving investors high and dry.

      • Larry Ensor

        Never heard/read anything about this. Now that I think about it I haven’t seen the their name for a while now.
        I had some clients ask me to review some of the horses in a couple racing partnerships they were thinking of buying into a few years back. Never inspected the horses but on paper they looked like $5-10,000+ horses being syndicated for $75-100,000+. And these were not horses ready to get in the gate. Basically yearlings and or short 2 year olds bred by them. I advised they could do far better by looking around.

        • Richard C

          10/04/2012 / “Belmont Park: Karakorum Racing Disbands” / drf

          • Don Reed

            Thanks for the info. I hadn’t heard a word about this!
            OH. That’s right. I was waiting to be notified by a forthright NYRA press release spelling out all the details.

    • Andrew A.

      Sounds to me like he should be outed for the benefit of everyone else who he might scam in the future. We have to get rid of these types of people. Any hints?

      • Don Reed

        Executions.

    • HogHater

      If this is really taking place at Santa Anita at the level that you’re making reference to, with the connections that the accused individual seems to have, then your story needs to get the full “Paulick” treatment as well.

    • betterthannothing

      Thank you HH, now I can’t wait for Part II of “He Lied Like Nobody’s Business” Horse Racing Cons & Sharks series which should be endless.

    • Thoroughbred Watch Dog

      Paulick won’t do anything about it. He has information brought to him on a silver platter concerning scams by Sanford Robbins, Michael Iavarone, Heather Larson, and Robert Hachmeister and has written NOTHING. Over $1.5 million worth of scams.

      • Sandi York

        I have a similar complaint with Paulick. There are those who he doesn’t want to rock their boats, F the truth. WEAK………

        • Greg J.

          Sorry, Ray and his site does a better job then any other site exposing these types, hands down. If he wrote about all the negative that exists, it would be Horse Racing Wrongs site, no thank you!

          • Thoroughbred Watch Dog

            Exposing people who scam others for hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in this industry isn’t important, Greg J? What if you were John Roberts? Eight years old and a lover of horse racing who TRUSTED MICHAEL IAVARONE with his money!

          • Danny Gonzalez

            John Roberts is an awesome person i feel so bad for him

        • Thoroughbred Watch Dog

          And he ALWAYS DELETES MY COMMENTS BECAUSE HE IS IN THE POCKETS OF IAVARONE, ROBBINS, LARSON AND HACHMEISTER! HOW ABOUT I POST EVERYTHING HERE, PAULICK? All our emails. The timeline. The contracts. Sandi York is right. YOU ARE WEAK!

        • Olebobbowers

          My comment was not acceptable because I suggested rather than call Baffert ‘famous’, wouldn’t ‘infamous’ (in honor of the 7 fatalities in 14 months) prove more accurate.

          • Sandi York

            That would be my 34 year educated assumption

    • Mark

      Happy Harriett… Any chance you provide his/her initials so the rest of us do not make the same decision? Thank you.

    • Donna Brothers

      With all due respect, Harriett, how can you say “this guy Pippin had plenty of other people around him who knew all or most of what he was doing and sat back and did nothing, or colluded. THAT is the travesty of the horse business – that no one will stand up shoulder to shoulder and clean up these messes…” and then withhold the name of the “shyster” of which you speak? I’ve been in this business my whole life and, believe me, there are many more good guys than bad guys. One only need ask around the truth emerges about everyone.

      • Greg J.

        Donna, thank you! Harriet writes about this “shyster” and doesn’t call him out?

      • guest

        Good point and exactly what I was thinking – the whole asking around thing. Horse people always know each other, and I would be wary of sending money to someone I didn’t know very well. Then again seems like there should be a better way for new owners to get reliable info about racing partnerships.

      • John G. Veitch

        Donna is correct. Based my experience in the industry, many more good than bad.
        JGV Saratoga

        • jupiter tom

          Of course.

    • qwerty12

      “This is true because I said so.”

    • bluegrass22

      Harriett Hendr*n is that you?

    • Jake o

      I own a bar in the Cleveland area. This kid owes me $750 for unpayed services. This article really confirms the gut feeling I had all along. I’m working to take legal action easier said than done!

    • Joe

      Hmm … Harriet, I suppose, if what you say is true, then the PR report would be happy to write about it.

      If what you say is true, and you can back it up.

      oh and your racism is showing >> “shyster Trainers” are nonexistent. Shysters are Jewish lawyers. Even if you don’t buy the semitic connection, it’s generally lawyers that are called that.

    • nosyjme

      Name THAT person then… IF you are really telling the truth…

  • Richard C

    CNBC’s “American Greed” should dive into this bizarre story.

    • Tiznow90

      Way too small-time for American Greed. At the end of the day it doesn’t seem like this guy got away with all that much, at least in dough. Reads like a joke to me.

      • betterthannothing

        Very colorful but small potatoes next to the organized fleecing of Jess Jackson and Stonestreet.

        • Larry Ensor

          A certain trainer did an even better job on Allen Paulson years back. Pretty clever when it came out.

          • betterthannothing

            Allen Paulson was fleeced left and right. Were that trainer’s initials DL?

          • betterthannothing

            Funny how Jackson and Paulson used the same bloodstock agent.

  • nosyjme

    Is this guy related to vincent timphony?

    • Larry Ensor

      There’s a name from the past. He was “working” one of the last of the old money “social lights” the last time I saw him.

  • betterthannothing

    Fantastic investigative reporting. That story could almost lead me to believe in karma or “what goes around comes around”.

  • Dan Jividen

    Good article, Raymond. It may be a left handed compliment, because there is so little competition, but the Paulick Report continues to publish the best investigative journalism in horse racing.

    • C Hogan

      Indian Charlie is the best by far.

  • Rufusous

    Simply superb investigative work, as usual. Well done!!!

  • elusivepjo

    To me… This is just another sobering reminder that racing, in general needs to be “cleaned up”. The fact that it occurred in the first place did not shock me at all. While I love racing, nothing any more shocks me about it.

    I don’t know if one overseeing governing body along with a commissioner would have prevented this. However, it certainly would have brought things to a swift end once it started. We are a major sport… or at least claim to be. Every sport, not just racing is a huge corporate business and as such, all the greedy trappings, scandals and uncouth money making opportunist come along with it; its a proven fact. How and why racing does not protect and combat themselves against these types of people and scams as other sports do; just adds to the poor reputation and perception it has.

  • Connie

    I was talking to @BacksideTips via DM last November, trying to get Ernesto Oro help, a jockey who was injured in a training accident at Mountaineer. Pippin kept telling me he was talking to Jeff Radosevich and Ernesto Oro and that he was fine (didn’t want/need help), so that was the end of that. Ernesto Oro was hurt badly, too, broken pelvis, expected to be in a wheelchair for six months. I didn’t know Oro personally, I knew him from Thistledown and wanted to help him out.

  • dabighorse

    Ray, are you channeling Dick Francis????

    • Don Reed

      The real Dick Francis, not the alleged ghostwriter(s) of the later, dreadful DF mystery novels.

  • ohio owner

    typical of Thistledown…their practice seems to be not to screen their licensees. all you have to do is see how many trainers are welcome there that have extensive rulings. They are even written about of their web site as how they were excited to have them racing at Thistledown. And have had several ruling since joining “the empire”. I have a notebook full of them I would love to share. sadly, trainers that have had clean records for over 30 or more years were denied stalls because the racing secretary has “personal vendettas” . This is racings new black eye..

    • Richard C

      I gather that if you have the cash and a smile to go with the filled-out forms — the license is granted!

      • ohio owner

        Don’t need the smile

  • sittin’ chilly

    Gotta love the irony of this story sharing the PR home page with a story titled “This is a sport for dreamers”.

  • bob

    Great work Ray ! The Internet and Twitter and all the other social media tools have made it easy to create con men like this buffoon. Enough sharks already existed in horse racing before the social media explosion. Not good for the game to have bad publicity like this. Not sure if this guy will be part of the show ” American Greed ” but you never know.

  • davidinD

    Nicely written investigative journalism Ray! Sorry you had to devote hours of your life to clearing your name. Pippen reads as someone who has a diagnosable personality disorder like an antisocial or narcissistic disorder.

    • bryan e

      he was reporting on a con man, not clearing his name.

      • davidinD

        Actually Pippen created false accounts and claimed that Ray was in communication with him which he used to convince Baffert and other of his legitimacy. So yes, Ray is clearing his name in terms of the fake emails.

        Also, why split hairs on a comment like mine? It seems really petty.

      • davidinD

        If you closely read the article you would note that Pippin created a fictional email account from Ray that he used to convince many in the industry of his legitimacy. In other words, many important people would have thought Ray said/did things he did not say/do had he not written this piece. So yes, actually (in part) he is clearing his name.

        • Susan Cloos

          I can’t understand how the Bafferts could believe Ray Paulick would send an email stating flat-out he wanted to tarnish the trainer AND HIS FAMILY, and “I’ll come up with things.” The Bafferts had to be familiar with Ray Paulick and the other well-known professionals whose emails Pippen forged. The level of the Bafferts’ paranoia about public opinion is very surprising.

  • Jack Frazier

    This Runyoneske story is right out of Guys and Dolls. “I got the horse right here, his name is Paul Revere…..can do, can do.” You can almost hear Stubby Kay in the background or Bob Hope, the first Lemon Drop Kid trying to con a mark or little Shirley Temple, aka Little Miss Marker. There are those at every track trying to dupe the unwary. Been suckered myself and it is embarrassing. We who want to believe are oft times swindled. Great story.

    • Larry Ensor

      I got caught in a 3 sided yearling auction “deal” that was more then embarrassing. Especially because I thought I knew all of the scams.

      • Jack Frazier

        It happens because these guys and gals sound knowledgeable. As Reagan once said, “trust but verify” on every deal. Trainers get duped into taking horses then wind up owning them after no bills are paid and the horse can’t run fast enough to beat the water truck.

        • Larry Ensor

          True enough. But this is what I have been doing for a living for a very long time. I am supposed to be the “knowledgeable guy”. That’s what people pay me for.
          Live and learn is what they always say.

          • Jack Frazier

            I am as well. Small operation with four horses and one action like this would be the end. These folks just think about the moment and the fast money. I tend to be old school and after being snookered a few years ago I realized their was an element at the tracks that would more of a subterfuge. It exists at high levels and low and we need be weary of being caught in a trap that sounds good but isn’t.

  • Larry Ensor

    Wonder if anyone has ever pulled a “Producers”? Get a yearling, sell 500%, keep stringing the “investors” along telling that the horse is training well everything is good. Pocket expenses, for a couple of months. If the Penn National clocker hadn’t got busted they could have paid for some official workouts. Before it gets even close to being expected to race call the partners with the tragic news that the horse got hurt and needs go to a farm for rehab. String them along for another couple of months. Pocket some more expense money. Then call and say unfortunately the horse is not doing well and will never race and has been retired. But I have another horse that you might be interested in. I’ll give you a good deal.

    • RayPaulick

      Yes, Larry. Frank Monteleone scammed two unsuspecting owners from Nevada, saying he imported two horses from Europe after they wired money to buy them. The horses never left Europe. He billed them training fees, farrier, etc. They won a lawsuit but THE CALIFORNIA HORSE RACING BOARD DID NOTHING.

      Monteleone defrauded another owner and he pleaded guilty of a crime. Yet, again, the CALIFORNIA HORSE RACING BOARD DID NOTHING.

      http://www.paulickreport.com/news/ray-s-paddock/chrb-wins-coveted-chutzpah-award/

      • betterthannothing

        Isn’t because the CHRB used him as a spook, at least for a while?

        • greg

          That was the plan, but Monteleone never said a word

      • Flag Is Up

        Not exactly true Ray, Mr. Monteleone was without a license for about 30 minutes as he turned in his Trainers license for a Jockey Agent license. These California Stewards are much tougher than you realize, just wait another year or two and Mr. Avila will surely be slapped with a $50.00 fine for his misdeeds. The song Three Blind Mice comes to mind.

        • Don Reed

          In California, the trio is known as The Three Blind Lice.

      • Larry Ensor

        Forgot about him. But he go caught.

        There’s a funny line from a recent movie, I can’t recall the name. A bunch of inept scammers with a good plan get caught by a PI. They think they have been busted. But the PI say to them, “I really hate it when a perfectly good plan/scam is screwed up by amateurs. This is how you do it”.

  • Jerry

    This is Bob Baffert at his finest!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yet another great story Ray. Thanks for exposing this info.

    Jerry

    • biggar

      What was written about Baffert that you found to be his finest? I may have missed it.

      • kyle

        I think by ” at his finest,” Jerry is writing sarcastically and alluding to a certain lack of perspecuity Baffert increasingly displays.

        • biggar

          Is that similar to perspicuity?

          • kyle

            It’s whatever Steve Jobs thinks it should be.

          • Don Reed

            This chat went nowhere fast.

  • guest

    It doesn’t surprise me about lazy reporters who don’t check facts. Just yesterday while watching the Saratoga Special on Fox Sports after I Spent It won, the TVG lady inexplicably went straight to interview Justin Zayat, owner of the runner up Mr Z. But the TV caption on the bottom said “Justin Zayat, owner of I Spent It”. Even I knew that was wrong!

    • guest

      ETA by lazy reporters I’m referring to the ease at which mis-information is so easily spread online as mentioned in the article, not to anyone at PR!

  • Donna Brothers

    Wow. You did quite a lot of work on this, Ray. Great job researching and reporting. Thanks for the information and the underlying message: “beware of strangers” and do your homework before you “invest” money.

  • Cathy

    Great story! We need more stories that reveal the cheaters and even more that laud those that love, live and dream the sport. I have often said that we need a way to check if owners, trainers and investors are paying their bills and towing the line of respectability. I, so many times, wanted to shout out to the rest of my colleagues that so and so owed us thousands of dollars so no one else would get screwed by that person. And then I wondered why we didn’t know that so and so was bad pay or a non payer? If we had some way of letting each other know the issues we have with certain people, those people would not be able to continue to play us the way they do.

    • betterthannothing

      We need a national racing commission with strong investigative and legal teams to, among many other sorely needed services, investigate, issue and control all racing licenses across the country and suspend them nationwide as needed. That commission should offer a toll free number to anonymously report abuse to horses and horsemen including names of deadbeat owners, scams, doping and other important tips. Meanwhile, I wish all 38 racing commissions would go after those abusers, disclose their names and prevent them from abusing others.

      • diastu in tempe

        Isn’t this a case for the FBI? Seems all the boxes are checked to attract their interest.

  • Marion N.

    Still trying to wrap my head around all this information! Amazing piece of investigation and journalism, Ray, and kudos to you for admitting that you were actually being partly conned as well throughout this story. I understand that not many people are ready to openly admit falling for a con man, but I sincerely hope that some do and each and every one of his licenses will be revoked for life!

  • ScammyHorse

    WinStar farms huh? winStar was a scammy fraudulent internet investor nightmare scam in the 1990’s.

  • Richard C

    Pippin could have risen through the ranks in ClassicStar.

  • dave_parker

    The person I feel the most sorry for is Bob Baffert–instead of training horses, he has to hire upteen million lawyers, PR people, etc.

    • Greg J.

      Feel sorry for Baffert? Seriously?

      • Richard C

        Baffert seemingly has Nixonian arrogance racing through his veins.

        • Don Reed

          Many people have made the same comment.

        • Guest

          As well as Nixonian paranoia….

    • Birdy2

      Is this comment a joke? Baffert has a fleet of lawyers and a PR firm on retainer. I’m glad I grew up in this game back when a top shelf trainer didn’t press agents and could identify every horse in his barn by the feel of its ankles.

      • biggar

        You must have grown up a very long time ago, Before Marion Van Berg and others.

      • Don Reed

        I agree. “Sympathy For Baffert” would be a great name for a racing novel, ala, “Vanity Fair.”

  • Susan Cloos

    I remember this incident. For those interested, the horse involved was Loach.

    • Don Reed

      S/h/been “Louche.”

  • Gail Hirt

    Beyond The Roses Equine Rescue is still waiting for the couple of skids of grain Pippin told me he was sending us for helping and taking in Fuhrever Dancing.

  • Barb Carey

    Sociopath, see how he makes himself the victim in the end?

  • betterthannothing

    Thanks for sharing Larry. Great story! Sad how miscreants are being protected and continue to fleece people. Here are two names involved in that deal. BTW, I really enjoyed meeting your father in NY, he was a true gentleman.

    From the LA Times 7/21/1992:

    “Allen Paulson, the horse owner who won two Breeders’ Cup races a year ago, is suing trainer Dick Lundy, alleging improprieties in the sale and purchase of horses in the United States and Europe.

    Paulson filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, accusing Lundy and Stephen Grod, a Newport Beach bloodstock agent, of “conspiracy to defraud.”

    One of the horses named in Paulson’s suit is Loach, who was recently sold to the owners of 1991 Kentucky Derby winner Strike The Gold. Paulson dropped Lundy as his trainer earlier this month…”

  • fool me once

    I received emails from him indicating that Danny Woodhead was a partner in Go Duke Go. I also was on a group email indicating that NBA player Alonzo Gee was also a partner. This story is very accurate based upon my experience. I was told checks were mailed last August and never received money until december. Shadyness abounds…

  • bryan e

    interesting story that is good for racing if the publicity helps prevent other horse owners or potential owners from making similar mistakes in the future. anyone who says they cannot be conned by someone like Pippin is mistaken or lying. While you go about your busy life, the con man spends all his time finding angles to take advantage of and exploit.

    the people most often conned are honest people who do not immediately distrust people because they themselves are trustworthy and are not in the habit of dealing with dishonest people.

    so if the point of the article is to embarrass Maggie Moss or the Bafferts (which seems possible but hopefully not the case), then it is tabloid reporting, not investigative.

    Investigative reporting would have been done to expose Pippin BEFORE the victims knew the truth. Maggie Moss and the Bafferts dealt with him months ago and have nothing to be embarrassed about for being his victims. Maggie Moss was trying to retire a racehorse and Jill Baffert was trying to protect her husband. Neither of these things is embarrassing.

    Maybe people would be less reluctant to be outspoken about people like Pippin if the stories weren’t told as though the victims were fools or did something wrong. Anyone can be conned if the con man can find the right angle. Anyone.

    • Guest

      I don’t get your veiled accusation that “investigative reporting would been done to expose Pippin BEFORE the victims knew the truth” and anything after that is tabloid.

      It’s tough enough to get the facts on a story when parties involved do talk – let alone when they won’t. And I can’t help but notice your concern for embarrassment seems limited to Baffert and Moss – not so much the poor low profile schlubs who actually spent money and bought shares in horses they never owned. But then – they don’t seem embarrassed as much as pleased that this grifter has been exposed.

      This article didn’t smear or shame or ding the reputations of anyone but Pippin. As you said – anyone, any day, with the right angle can be duped. But don’t obliquely hint that Paulick had an ulterior motive because his investigation didn’t go by your approved time frame. More often than not – the facts come out well after the crimes and victims are totally aware.

  • Birdy2

    Greg J, the same thing happened to me, and you know why. My crime was relating facts, and this guy (or someone) had me worried as hell, convinced that Baffert’s legal team was after you and me both. Was Pippen behind all that? I wonder if we’ll ever know the whole story. P.S. THANK YOU, Mr. Ray for a way cool article. It’s you at your finest, and happy I am to see it.

    • RayPaulick

      Greg J and Birdy2. The part I don’t fully understand is why Jonathan Pippin was so determined to go after and intimidate people like you? What was in it for him?

      • Greg J.

        Ray, Honestly, no idea why? Pippen actually went as far as to have his number come up as a Superior Court in L.A. on my caller I.D.., which made me believe I was going to be sued. Only thing I can think of is that Birdy and myself might have written stuff about Baffert that hit too close to home and they were threatened and paid Pippen to intimidate us? Also, how did Chris Mandala get my private cell number? Like I said, really no idea, just glad it ended!

      • Don Reed

        Egotism. The thrill of being able to scam people who usually are impenetrable. Goldfinger. Fort Knox. The scam’s success is the gold.

      • Andrew A.

        It’s what Jill wanted. She was looking for allies and he played her just right. Her hatred for us blinded her to what was really going on. Absolutely no sympathy for the Bafferts.

        • betterthannothing

          Andrew, well said! Your post just reminds me of “Barbara” who religiously promoted and defended BB here. Funny, I have not seen that poster since Ray exposed the Baffert 7 (seven that we know of).

          • Barbara Bowen

            Barbara (the same) is right here using my full name instead of only half of it (and the people that mattered knew who I was at the time.) I have never “promoted” Baffert, and I still “defend” him or anyone else when the mob can’t see straight and applies their venom while letting other more popular racing personalities escape their wrath.

            I NEVER defended the 7 deaths. I asked questions like everyone else. Including questions I asked directly of Ray. Right after I defended Ray directly to Bob on Twitter. When you post under your real name, we’ll talk;-)

      • betterthannothing

        How was Pippin able to use a federal court phone id and how he found private email addresses to intimidate and harass the like of Greg J and Birdie2 who the BB camp must have considered as inconvenient BB critics? Is Pippin a computer/communication hacking genius or did someone well connected provide him with private contacts against the law?

        • Andrew A.

          It’s called spoofing. People do it with emails and phone calls. I got one from the California Horse Racing Board during that period. I knew it was phony so hung up and called the person back at the CHRB. The person was a real person but had no idea what I was talking about. You can’t take anything at face value anymore.

        • Greg J.

          Pippin is/was a “expert at spoofing
          his name & social media accounts. He is also known for calling
          people and then hanging up and having the caller ID show that it came
          from somewhere else. He has spoofed his identity to appear as a major
          owner, a trainer, news outlets, PETA, etc.”

  • Matt D.

    Fantastic job Ray! But i must say this story really got my blood boiling for only one reason. @DannyStars2012 tried to intimidate people by posting his KNOWLEDGE OF THEIR CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES. It’s two hours after my read-through and i’m still f@#$%^g seething.

    • Andrew A.

      We all know who dannystars was. It was a her not a him. This person was and is a very twisted individual.

      • Greg J.

        Very twisted indeed!

  • Thistledude

    I wonder if this is the reason the feds were in the racing office today…

    • Richard C

      There is plenty in the story that should interest law enforcement — since (as in any investigative reporting, where a story or series has to remain “tight” for readers) this is just the top layer of the rotting onion.

      • jupiter tom

        Someone who was duped may have to sign a complaint first to get the prosecutorial ball rolling. And they may not want to deal with all the red tape and time involved.

  • gambling boat

    i wonder if he was tutored by politicians

    • Richard C

      It actually has a layer of the political game – whether small or big; it may only be determined if the Feds – or other law enforcement – come knocking around. It appears that Pippin became a hatchet man for Baffert – whether as a hired gun or volunteer – maybe, a combo — it is a bit difficult to determine. Many politicians will have a tough guy to keep staff members, the media and/or other elected officials walking a straight line — and it may be the “chief of staff” or someone off-the-books who can twist arms and threaten like a nasty character in a mob flick. And….if that person has to start chirping due to some legal inconveniences that cannot be cleaned up or buried in some circular file…..all bets are off on how things will end.

  • greg

    I’ve been an owner and fan in So Cal for over 35 years (playing) 20 owning, and there are so many stories like this, didn’t a trainer with the initials FM sell a horse to several people that he didn’t own, get his license taken away and avoid jail because he said he would provide information to the CHRB about drugging of horses? He never gave a word and was finally banned? I had a trainer many years ago did the same to me, it was my threats and that I had the ability to damage him physically that I got paid back, I think I was the only one paid back, that was Heath Stokes. If it’s true name names, who are you protecting?

    • Flag Is Up

      Heath Stokes, that’s a name I haven’t heard in years.

  • Don Reed

    Jon Pippin wasn’t anymore deceitful than NYRA claiming that they have their customers’ best interests in mind while:

    1) Simultaneously destroying the Saratoga paddock by building an outrageous huge white tent in it –

    Ten times the size necessary to house 1-2 commentators, & its location not at all belonging in
    the paddock itself, which has already been robbed of valuable space with the erection of the Fasig-Tipton tent –

    Thus forcing the paying public into a space 67% of its already diminished former size if they
    want to stand & watch the pre-race paddock proceedings.

    What’s next – luxury sky boxes on top of the numbered stalls where the horses are taken prior to their being led onto the paddock path to the racetrack?

    2) Instituting a new, DISASTROUS automatic betting system that has the customers in an uproar, thus resulting in huge lines for transactions with human tellers, even on days with
    flat attendance.

    This weekend, I personally witnessed one of these machines – without anyone hitting any keys – printing bets that no one had prompted. Fortunately, there was plenty of time for them to be cancelled.

    3) Forcing the CLUBHOUSE patrons (after increasing admission to $8) to have to use the top of garbage cans – GARBAGE CANS – if they want to put their notes down into order to make
    calculations prior to getting on the long lines to bet.

    This due to some management ninny having ripped out – DESTROYED – all of the work stations fastened to the clubhouse walls, which formerly served an invaluable function for
    thinking bettors.

    Note to the CFO: Why wasn’t the clubhouse admission increased to $12 to pay for the removal of useful/essential things?

    4) And reopening the award-wining (category: “White Elephants”) Carousel restaurant – a guaranteed revival of a culinary ghost town on all but the one or two sold-out days of the meet

    While, at the same time, competent chefs & staff preparing edible food on the ground floor
    are squeezed into spaces unfit for human habitation & gouged for rent.

    Mr. Pippin, you missed your calling. You could’ve been In Like Flynn, making honest money & lots of it, had you merely applied for employment with NYRA.

    Your first job would have been ordering 100 new garbage cans for the Saratoga clubhouse for
    the handicappers – the natural person to be assigned the job.

    The current managers would have blown the count.

  • Bubba

    Heard a different version. It was the purchase of Loach (a rabbit for Strike the Gold)

  • Susan Cloos

    In late July of this year, Lundy was the guest speaker for a New Owners’ Seminar at Belterra Park. It may be more than 20 years on but the irony is still there.

    • betterthannothing

      So scary and dysfunctional but totally normal for racing. It keeps shooting itself in the foot in so many ways. It is constantly crying for new owners and then throw potential ones to the wolves from the start.

    • Larry Ensor

      Yup, isn’t it.

      Pete Rose, arguably one of the best players in the history of baseball and a dam good manager got banned for life because he bet on some games. He did not try to “rig” any nor rob anyone.
      And to this day his name is persona non grata in baseball.

      I’m not sure he is even allowed in a Ball Park.

  • Mike caggiano

    I once again would like to thank my friends and partners in Victoria Meadows. I feel extremely fortunate that my first ownership experience was with such honorable people. Dennis Mills you’re the best.

    Mike Caggiano.

  • Martha Cantarini

    Having spent many years married to a jockey, I was always amazed at how many total strangers crashed the winners circle photos.

    • Larry Ensor

      Good timing with this comment. It still has me chuckling because I just unpacked a box of old win pictures from a really good horse I owned part of in the 80s. Being east coast based we were not always able to watch him run. This horse mostly ran in graded stakes and was trained by Mr. Whittingham. There is one picture in particular of a graded stakes win that only one of my partners was there for. But there are a bunch of “characters” in the picture. A few in funky shorts, black socks, “wife beater shirts” etc in funny poses.
      When I got the picture I called my partner and asked who his “friends” were. He laughed and said I have no idea. They just showed up as the horse was being lead into the winners circle.
      I have a number of pictures from small races and lesser tracks then Santa Anita with people no one knew. The trainers just figured we told “friends” to get in the picture if the horse wins because we weren’t going to be there.

      I have often invited “new found friends” that I have met at the races while waiting for our horse to run. I like to hang with the “people”, drinking beers and handicapping. I don’t usually say we have a horse running so I can hear what they think of our horse. So if it wins I can take them by surprise and say, “come on lets get our picture taken”. It’s even more fun if there is “family” involved, wife and kids. The husbands say “you just made my day” this will make it so much easier to go to the races. I tell them how they can order the picture. Or just get their address and pay for and send it to them.

      It’s really fun to play “ who’s going to be owner for a day”.

  • lioneltrain

    It is so important for ownership groups and the tracks to put on seminars for novice owners and advertise them extensively to help prevent this kind of abuse. Indeed racetracks should require new owners to watch a video explaining how things are done the right way as far as documentation and financial responsibilities associated with ownership as well as other aspects of ownership like the owner/ trainer relationship. Maybe TOBA could do it. The best defense against people like this is education

    • betterthannothing

      If during those seminars the attendance was told the truth they would not recruit anyone.

    • Larry Ensor

      Anyone who is thinking of getting into racing should use an agent. Not only to buy them a horse but also to guide them through the process. They make introductions, and teach them the ropes. Good agents should be happy to answer as many questions someone wants to ask. Regardless of the compensation. They will help with finding trainers that are a “good fit” not only for the horse but more importantly for the owners. If things go in the wrong direction for what ever reason they can “break up” the relationship with little to no stress for the owners.

      For the record I am not saying this because I have been an agent. There have been a number of “newbies” that have said they wished they had used a “guidance counselor” from the get go. The learning curve can be expensive one without.
      Our job is to make it as fun an experience as possible. And just like parents sooner or latter they will go out on their own. Which is fine.

      • Prime Equine

        And, hopefully, the agent that they hire won’t be a “double dipper”

        • Larry Ensor

          I would like to believe the vast majority of agents always work in the best interest of their clients. There are bad apples in every commission based profession. I have been screwed by plenty of “clients” over the years. Nature of the beast, cost of doing business. And so called friends.

      • betterthannothing

        Larry: yes, hiring a solid agent is the best way to go. But how can a newbie with money to burn on race horses know how to select an ethical and qualified agent? As you know, some of the worst ones can be so charismatic and look so trustworthy.

        What do you think about an independent website listing bloodstock agents, trainers, vets, farriers, etc. where people could rate them and write reviews about them? Not the perfect tool but it would be helpful.

        • Larry Ensor

          In England they have/had a “Federation of Bloodstock Agents” for a long time. Their names were listed in the sales catalogs. Being that I look at catalogs on line now and skip the none pedigree pages I assume it is still done.
          The vast majority of people in the horse business in Europe have always used agents no matter how long they have been in the sport, business. No so much in this country.

          A similar thing has been tried here a couple of times by a KY group of agents. But it never got traction. There is no “licensing” anyone can hang up a shingle. Who’s to say who should be granted membership in the “club” as a lot of us felt at the time.

          It has been my observation the ones that seem to be the most successful, if success is judged by how much “press” a certain name gets, are far better at BSing and butt kissing then they are at really knowing what they are doing. But in the end that is part of the business of acquiring clients. I was never very good at it. No disrespect to those that are intended. A blind pig will come up with a good “talking” horse from time to time if given enough money.
          I have seen a lot come and go over the years. It is a really tough gig to make a career out of. A pretty thankless one most of the time also.

          I’m not a big fan of an “Angie’s List” approach. I don’t think it could ever be fair and balanced without an “oversight committee” that reviews/checks on complaints, negative comments before being posted.
          But putting such a website together might be like herding cats. I think TOBA lists some of their in-house agents. I stopped being a member years ago and have not looked at their website in a long time.

  • Olebobbowers

    Interesting read Ray. I think there might be a typo jn the second paragraph where you say ” alongside Game On Dude and American racing’s most ‘famous’ trainer “…should’t that read ‘infamous’ trainer? As I read deeper into the story and learned that the man you refer to as ‘famous’ had SEVEN horses die on the race track in a period of 14 months. Just curious Sir, if you were referring to Adolf Hitler, would you describe him as A) famous or B) infamous. If your answer would be ‘A’, I stand corrected.

  • SnarkyEyeCanB

    Racing commissioners and stewards from coast to coast should be on high alert. Question is, will they?

    Pippin is a tiny minnow of a fish in a giant ocean of a business. There are, and have been, racing flim flam artists that make him look like an amateur, which he is. Shame on anyone who fell for his chicanery.

    Maggie Moss…you’re an attorney and you sell a horse to someone you don’t know without signing the ownership papers yourself? Why would you send him papers without a signature?

    • Prime Equine

      She didn’t send him the foal papers. Read that paragraph again.

  • vinceNYC

    By FAR the biggest con men are trainers…..from putting a horse in their name , selling it to 3 owners then saying the horse is hurt ( 3 training bills) or purchasing a horse for you for 8K ( only to find later)the price was 1600) training the horse for months , when you want to sell cannot “find a buyer” ..buys it back from you for 1000 then resells the horse a WEEK later to someone else for 8K . Go into the paddock only to meet another “partner” in the horse you thought you owned alone and of course the vet bills that a trainer “authorizes” in your name and on horses you are dumb enough to own with him the 50 % you have always seems quite high ( no doubt covering his half) or last but not least buying a horse in Florida for a small sum , asking what the hauling cost is , get told one number by your trainer and getting a bill for 2 times that…….Vampires,,,,,I would love to an honest article ridden about these carnival barkers , con men , lying sacks of ( fill in the blank)

    • Prime Equine

      Unfortunately, VinceNYC, you are correct.

  • Convene

    Just when you think you’ve heard the worst of gall and depravity humans are capable of, you read about people like this and realize you haven’t. I guess some will do the most outrageous things to feed their egos and convince themselves they are important. Good article, Ray. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief!

  • bg

    Amazing story. I am a trusting person but when someone starts talking money, investing with them, can’t miss deal… they never see a penny from me and I avoid them from then on.

  • Herman’s Kennel

    OMG

  • Andy in the desert

    Amazing reporting Ray. Kudos to you and if you have others who helped in putting this together in a such a cogent way, (staff perhaps?) kudos to them for their contribution. It must have been a Herculean task. Though having your name smeared and tarnished fraudulently must have given you added incentive to “get it right”.

    This saga has all the hallmarks of a Damon Runyon work, though I’m surprised nobody has made that comment as of yet. Pippin seems a much smaller time, “Harry the Horse”.

    Being a small time horse player for over 30 years now it would be nice to see a nationwide regulating board with some actual ability to regulate, sanction, and yes ban, for conduct and behavior unbecoming or detrimental to the industry, the betting public, and especially the equine athletes. But, sadly, I don’t see it coming any time soon.

    Thanks again Ray. Keep up the good fight.

    I also enjoy the insights provided here in the comments section from those who have “been there and done that”, to quote an old Hollywood Park commercial.

    BTW, whatever happened to your episodes on TVG? I haven’t seen you there in quite awhile now.

  • Maura

    This guy drives around Columbus in his brand new Porsche and is at the bar, alone, on an almost daily basis. Cannot believe he’s not in jail for fraud! Everyone beware.

    • Pincay

      In Cleveland. It’s not his!

  • Lmaris

    A National Racing Commission would prevent a lot of this, along with basic fact checking by supposed journalists, and elementary due diligence by people who should know better.

  • Fred Snark

    I have a friend who almost bought a bar with this guy… Provided the guy put up $50000 and he would match it with $200,000! Luckily my friend didn’t do it… But he is not hard to find trolling around Columbus in a white Porsche claiming to be a bigshot…

  • Tori

    “A man is only as good as his word”

  • Erin

    Jonathan screwed my family over and out of over 8k by telling us we were part owners of Duke! I have multiple emails and text between us and him saying he still owns the horse. He even got his then Fiance involved by having us deposit the money in her account for the part ownership. She should have known better being a lawyer herself!

  • [email protected]

    Just met him at Allure Las Vegas. He moved in next door to me today on 14th floor with another guy.

  • pam

    this is such a unbelievable story why isnt this man in jail?

    • Andrew A.

      He is now.

  • Rosemary finelli

    That was awful. What he did unbelievable.

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