The Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission has begun issuing subpoenas seeking financial, veterinary and telephone records from licensed Thoroughbred trainers at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pa. Jason Klouser, director of enforcement for the commission, did not provide any specifics as to the recipients, the number of subpoenas that have been issued or the purpose. “I really can't discuss it,” Klouser said. “It's an investigation that is ongoing.”
Alan Pincus, an attorney who said he has been retained to provide legal representation to several trainers who have been subpoenaed, said it's “an ever growing list” that is being targeted. It's believed as many as seven trainers have been served so far. Pincus declined to name the trainers he is representing.
“Only in Pennsylvania can the commission come up to people and demand every piece of paper they have and threaten to suspend them if they don't (turn over the records),” Pincus said. “They say, 'Give me your tax returns, your bank records, your vet records, your phone records and your billing records. If you don't give it in 20 days, you're suspended.'
“I have no idea what it's about,” Pincus added. “The commission won't tell me. Some of these trainers have never had a positive test in their life.”
Trainers were served subpoenas starting this past weekend, according to Pincus. “They have an obscure regulation that says they can convene an investigative hearing, and in conjunction with that they can issue subpoenas,” he said. “In the United States, I think you are allowed to know what it's about. It's baffling, but obviously it's serious business.”
Several horsemen who spoke to the Paulick Report on condition of anonymity said they have been led to believe the commission is investigating hidden ownership, the transfer of horses during a trainer suspension, and the alleged use of program trainers – trainers putting horses in someone else's name to avoid paying workers compensation or licensing issues.
The subpoenas from the commission are not believed to be related to the FBI investigation at Penn National that led to criminal convictions of trainers, veterinarians and racetrack employees.
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