Janney Responds To Pennsylvania Commissioner: ‘There Were Indeed Regulators Asleep On The Job’

by | 10.17.2017 | 12:07pm
Stuart S. Janney III, chairman of The Jockey Club

Stuart S. Janney III, chairman of The Jockey Club, has responded to a letter from Russell C. Redding – Pennsylvania's Secretary of Agriculture and chairman of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission – in which Redding said Janney's critical remarks at the Jockey Club Round Table in August spread “misinformation” and were “irresponsible.”

“I stand by them and I deny that I spread misinformation,” Janney said in his Oct. 17 letter to Redding.

Janney provided details from sworn testimony at the federal trial of trainer Murray Rojas in which trainer Stephanie Beattie – a former president of the Pennsylvania Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and vice president of the National HBPA – admitted to cheating “thousands” of times and estimating that “95% to 98% of trainers at Penn National” were treating horses illegally on race-day.

Rojas was found guilty on 14 felony counts of misuse of drugs.

Janney also cited the testimony of veterinarian Fernando Motta and the Pennsylvania Equine Toxicology Research Laboratory's then-acting director, Dr. Mary Robinson. Motta confirmed that illegal race-day drug treatments at Penn National were rampant and that he may have been responsible for violating rules thousands of times. Robinson admitted the lab did not have tests able to detect a number of drug treatments given to horses on race day.

“In my view,” Janney wrote, “the Rojas trial provided ample support for the conclusion that, during the time in question, there were indeed ‘regulators asleep on the job' and that there was a ‘corrupted and ineffectual testing system.'”

His letter to Redding did recognize progress in Pennsylvania's regulatory oversight of horse racing, including new rules that would disqualify a horse from racing for a specific time if it tests positive for a Class 1 or Class 2 drug. However, he remains perplexed over how the commission permitted two winners of the Parx Oaks – the original first-place finisher who subsequently tested positive for clenbuterol and the original second-place finisher – a decision Janney said would have “last, negative downstream effects on virtually all facets of the horse racing industry.”

Janney again endorsed the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017, introduced in Congress earlier this year, as a way for the industry to establish national independent oversight of medication rules, testing and enforcement.

“Taking a broader perspective, I also believe that there is much further to go in terms of ensuring the integrity of our nation's races and protecting our racing athletes. We learned many disturbing things through the Rojas matter, and I believe that these are emblematic of the numerous shortcomings of the anti-doping programs in this nation's many racing jurisdictions.”

Click here to read Janney's response to Redding, which includes transcripts from the Rojas trial of testimony by Beattie, Motta and Robinson.

 

  • ben

    The response by Mr. Janney is loud and clear.

    • lastromntribune

      and 100 % correct.

      • ben

        I forgot to mention that one.

  • Hamish

    Well researched and presented response by Mr. Janney. One can only hope that dialogue will now be replaced with positive and appropriate regulatory actions in PA.

  • Bryan Langlois

    Well…another topic on the agenda that I am sure might come up at the next meeting…

    • Minneola

      Okay, now please complete your thought. With what outcome?

      • Bryan Langlois

        If I could predict what would come next from this commission….I would also have the ability to hit the pick 6 on every card every day.

  • Kevin Callinan

    Redding is in way over his head. Janney is an elite lawyer and businessmen; Redding is an appointee most comfortable judging pumpkins at the county fair. Redding oversees possibly the most inept commission in the US- Janney chaired Bessemer Trust. PA has managed horse racing as a third world country might

    • Sinking Ship

      I laughed out loud at your “most comfortable judging pumpkins at the county fair” comment – because it’s so true! I guarantee you that Redding knows little to nothing about horse racing. He’s just looking forward to a nice government pension when he hangs up his suit jacket.

    • Hamish

      I recall reading in the trades that the relatively new legislated structure of the PA racing commission consists of 9 or 10 commissioners with Redding serving as chairman. With that many persons involved with PA regulatory decision making, one would think that the letter prepared to condemn Janney’s Round Table remarks must have been a document inspired by many commissioner’s positions? Not forgiving PA, nor the chairman’s ultimate responsibility, mind you.

      • Bryan Langlois

        The topic was apparently discussed in depth at the Commission Meeting that was held on August 31st. The letter was constructed and sent after that. Unfortunately I was away and not able to attend that meeting so I do not know exactly how in depth things were discussed. I am looking into getting the transcript for that meeting to find out. The commission is made up of both interests for Thoroughbred and Standardbred industries (prior there had been separate TBred and SBred commissions) so how much input those commissioners had in anything is anyones guess. I will say in most commission meetings the issues discussed are probably split maybe 70% TBred and 30% SBred on average. Some meetings have a little more SBred items.

        • Hamish

          So it sounds like there are experts from the Thoroughbred realm that are acting as commissioners. Chairman Redding may be taking his lead from those directly tied to the horse industry? Active horse industry participants acting as regulatory police, how can conflicts of interest be avoided?

      • Kevin Callinan

        I have no doubt that the commissioners are collectively embarrassed by the national disdain for PA’s product.

        • Dadnatron

          We have a colt which needed a race, and the only race available was at Parx. We decided it was better to just keep looking rather than waste our time and effort dealing with the Penn system. I don’t trust them… so I won’t entrust my horse to them.

  • jarmstead

    There is no room for anyone to rag on Janney… plain and simple.

    He’s been an advocate for what he clearly sees as the saving Grace for this industry… integrity and the accountability to preserve it… for the last 15-20 years at least.

    I know that Janney’s ethical and moral courage far surpass the memory of that trainer (what’s his name ?) who won the first 2 legs of the Triple Crown… and then dumped in the Belmont with a hoof that was completely torn up. Good riddance to him… I still can’t remember his name (or the horse).

  • Lehane

    I have much respect and admiration for Stuart Janney. His efforts to clean up racing are to be lauded. And I hope that his prudent advice and recommendations are heeded by the industry.

  • Sinking Ship

    What’s wrong with Pa. racing? Let me count the ways:

    * Animal abuse
    * Disregard for the rules
    * Corruption
    * Pari-mutuel handle nose-diving despite the infusion of slots dollars
    * Outrageously high takeout
    * Unappetizing betting product
    * Disinterested management
    * Incompetent racing commission and stewards

    • Really?

      Unfortunately you are right. The sad part is they have so many great things other states do not such as good purses, benefits for horseman, new out of competition testing, and Turning for Home which is amazing. However, there is very little policing of misconduct. Bad actors are allowed in when nobody will have them (gee, how did that happen) and nobody is watching. Other than the occasional shakedown after a positive there is little going on. The commission employees may want to help but there is not enough and they are only there during the day. They need certain barns under surveillance like I read they do when Navarro is in New York. The lab is good but it is not picking up some drugs. Out of competition testing needs to be continued and done on shippers (Serey) and closer to race including day of. And why is a particular horseman allowed to have so many positives and stay? It’s too obvious that there is a pay to play scenario over there which must be investigated ASAP. All of this lack of oversight does lead to animal abuse because the cheaters also tend to be those that couldn’t care less about horses. One owner sold a broke down horse to the killer for $300 after earning 300k in a year. His punishment was no more stalls but he still participates daily. These people need to be eliminated from the sport.

      • gus stewart

        There are solutions to all of the the situations you listed above. Contrary to the exuses and bs we hear from across the country in thouroubred and standard bred racing. It the strokes, leadership, that are unable to see the long term positive investement in changing horse racing rebranding to new fans. Drugs whips takeout and whatever else is currently holding back sport. There is no will to fix them, its better for the in power people, to squeeze out all the juice that remains with current owners and fans, its beyond thier ability to figure out solutions, and there are solutions, but of course it would cost them their jobs, because they are unqualified to do the 2017 job into the future.

        • Guest

          The only solution that will work is to end horseracing…..

          • billy

            I agree but what about the hundreds of thousands of thoroughbreds what happens to them is my biggest concern

          • gus stewart

            That is the question that i have asked the peta protestors who will again be at the upcoming del mar meet protesting during the breeders cup. This is the reason the sport needs unity a commisionar to address these questions. I mean I’ve met many more people in racing that care about racehorses then abuse them. The jock that recently bought the horse that made his career and retired him, is something that can be done more, and should be known to the general public through the mainstream media. We have no media coverage. These problems will only get mangnified in the coming years, they wont go away, like i would like the current leadership in all horse racing. Hey some good people in racings leadrship but that word nepotism is its disease.

          • billy

            I feel the people that have them should be responsible for them… though I know that will never happen….reagardless of how well you take care of these animals racing tears them apart that is what needs addressed first and foremost….i find it appalling that an animal that is designed to run has so few races before being used up…..if racing is going to continue we as the supior being need to do everything in our nature to protect the thing that racing cannot go without the horse, if the people involved are not willing to do that then yes by all means go away…..racing is bad for horses as it stands period….it is also shameful for as long as horse racing has been in existence we still have little to no answers for the problems I find that the most disturbing

          • gus stewart

            I understand your veiws, but i do love the sport, and i do think that most horses do enjoy running and the connection with people on backside for the most part. And yes its frustrating that many things today, with all the social media awareness, that racing has chosen to ignore or move so slowly in fixing ones that are fixable

          • billy

            Racing should change for racing you know for the good of the horse willingly not because public perception will give them no other choice

          • Guest

            Enjoy running under the whip/confinement? By the industries own admission, they acknowledge all the ills (abuse) and casualties (well, not Calif & Kentucky). First, stop the breeding. Visit any rescue and you’ll see tb’s in the slaughter pipeline. Yet, the “industry” boasts about the billions taken in. All one has to do is read to know this is no sport. Everyone, in any profession, should have a back-up plan.

          • gus stewart

            Hey im not an advocate of whip, and yes confinement probably could be improved. But your dealing with a smaller scale then lets say the dog and cat poulation. What do you currently when people still want to breed to sell, and all the animals in pound or shelters. The diffence is the racing biz employees many people on differnt levels,, if you have solutions i would say send them to the state and see if they would be interested

      • Presque isle

        Who sold a horse to a killer when they have turning for home who takes all horses?

        • Nybred13

          That’s actually one of the problem with Turning for Home that they take ALL horses…It gives the unscrupulous trainers an out.Before they had to figure out what to do with a horse that broke down or was too sore. Now these trainers tap the crap out of then, block them and have them loaded up with synthetic EPO or Clembuterol and these poor horses run till their legs fall off..Turning for Home will take them and they just put them down. So no charge for trainer for euthanasia and no charge to have them hauled away. Saves the trainer about $500. Not a bad gig and they get to squeeze every ounce out of the animal. When before they actually had accountability. Its sad:(

          • billy

            It’s wrong….and the industry should put an end to all of it…that will never happen cause they all allow it like it’s acceptable practice that is the sad part….and me and Brian Moore will have it out the first chance I see him

          • Bristling

            That’s some tough talk Billy

          • billy

            Got any better options I’m all ears…..

          • Hamish

            What percent of horses entering the TFH program are put down versus ultimately ending up in good hands?

          • Nybred13

            They will never disclose numbers, but I know 1st HAND that if a horse needs an extensive amount of time for an injury- they WILL put the horse down. This is knowledge many people who have had dealings with them know and why some reputable trainers refuse to give Turning For Home horses. It would be very interesting though to see the numbers of horses put down thru the program. There are people with that knowledge, but many will not talk for fear of being blackballed…

          • Really?

            I’ve seen some horses with some serious issues like broken sesamoids be rehabbed and rehomed through the program. If they don’t think the horse will ever be sound for anything, the girls in the office do whatever they can to make phone calls and find homes as pasture pets etc. I’m sure some have been put down but I do see them go above and beyond. I’m sure Turning for Home does give an out to unscrupulous trainers but they likely would have squeezed the sponge anyway and just sold the horse to a back channel feed lot. The answer is to get rid of these people.

          • billy

            I couldn’t agree more except saying before they had accountability….that I highly doubt those horses were just sent to auction or direct to the buyer imo

    • Vendettaroad

      NICE – other than that, is there anything else wrong – ha,ha

    • David Juffet

      May I add? Tracks that could care less about horse racing. It’s all about their casinos.

  • billy

    These people at Penn made hundreds of thousands of dollars….millions…and this is the punishment handed out for blatant animal abuse and complete disregard for an animals life I can’t begin to explain how filthy disgusting immoral horse racing is in this state and how it’s been foe who knows how long….what about all the other trainers on the treatment sheets still competing weekly for some of the best purse money available….and they vets do they all still currently hold licenses if so how can that be….i commend Mr Stuart S. Janney III for his comments for his letter and taking a stand on all the pertaining matters everyone seems to ignore and do very little about I finally hope there time has come to an end…its just not about the horses here

  • nucky thompson

    That’s gold, Janney, gold !

    • Cuffdaddy

      It is worth a dinner at Mendys

  • Vendettaroad

    The combination of ‘Extreme Nepotism’, and racetrack cronyism will be the kiss of death to a once grand sport (not that there wasn’t plenty of game playing and nefarious acts in past decades > $$$$).
    Strict accountability for those caught out of bounds, with extreme penalties to include heavy fines, long suspensions, and possible BANISHMENT from the game.
    NOW TO FIND QUALIFIED PEOPLE FOR OVERSIGHT ROLES – GOOD LUCK!

    • gus stewart

      100 percent correct,, but how do the old and new owners continue to invest in a business, sport, that is run by the types of people you address in your statement. I mean how did they make thier money, certainly wasnt in the racing biz or ownership the last 25 years.and i dont believe they are in this biz to rescue horses though im sure they love and care about them. They would be better off buying some farmland, take the ones running for 5000, put them on the farm and take care of them. I mean at least you would be doing something positive while waiting for the racing biz to only have a few tracks.. my thoughts

    • Lisa Johnson

      “The combination of ‘Extreme Nepotism’, and racetrack cronyism will be the kiss of death to a once grand sport (not that there wasn’t plenty of game playing and nefarious acts in past decades > $$$$”
      While I agree to the amount a lot of nepotism and cronyism in most respects all over the country, it’s not like the ‘grand old game’ wasn’t ever crooked before. It’s just that we KNOW more now. We HEAR more now. We READ more now. The nepotism happens so often because ‘regular’ people don’t work 7 days a week and the families are usually always involved….doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out.

  • Gertz

    I’m wondering about the poor trainer, the 1% guy who’s the only one not cheating. The lawyer leaves all of them the chance to claim “it’s me!”

  • affirmed

    Congratulations to Mr.Janney, you are a statesman, and a well respected Chairman of the Jockey Club..you questioned the Pennsylvania rcing Juresdiction, and when you inquired further into their Operations, they the Governing racing Organization in Pennsylvania, were so rude, and tried to shut you up, saying unfounded things…example they said you should mind your own business, and their Racing is clean, and there are no problems , and as if to tell you to back off. , as you dont know what you are talking about? well, the last Laugh is on them! all those violations, and Drug trainers, only goes to show that some guys while they know the truth they become a Big fat lie! They would have looked better if they were to have supported your arguments, and try to clean up their Dirty Drugs Game in Horse racing… they are now trying to make an about face , trying to correct the ship, that have gone aground, and their Anchor have pulled it deep into the bottom of the morass, they have finally drowned themselves…Bye, Bye, Bye..

  • Really?

    You know it’s bad when people have Pa breds running in Delaware and Maryland with all the money that can be made running in PA. The trainers/owners don’t want to deal with the cheating and don’t want their horses claimed by some POS.

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