UPDATE: According to a report at Harnessracing.com, the New Jersey Racing Commission notified the Meadowlands late Tuesday afternoon that the track “does not have the legal authority” to scratch the two horses trained by Chris Oakes from the Breeders' Crown.
Frank Zanzuccki, executive director of the New Jersey Racing Commission, advised the Meadowlands via email that the “Commission does not have the legal authority to scratch a horse(s) already entered based on conditions imposed solely on one trainer by a racetrack operator. Therefore, your request to have these horses scratched must be denied.”
The Meadowlands Racetrack has sent a formal request to the New Jersey Racing Commission asking to have both Breeders Crown horses trained by Chris Oakes to be scratched from this weekend's Finals for failing to cooperate with an agreed-upon surveillance and out-of-competition testing program.
The two Oakes horses are Luck Be Withyou, owned by John H. Craig, and Split The House, owned by Crawford Farms Racing. Both were entered in the $421,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace.
“Mr. Oakes had originally agreed to relocate his horses to White Birch Farm in New Jersey,” explained Meadowlands Chairman Jeffrey Gural. “The horses did not arrive by the Sunday deadline. I then compromised and gave them until Monday and then Tuesday. I even offered to allow the horses to continue to be stabled and trained at Mr. Oakes's farm in Pennsylvania provided I could have 24-hour surveillance on the horses at my own expense. Mr. Oakes and his lawyer Howard Taylor have refused to respond to these requests.”
A copy of the email request sent to the New Jersey Racing Commission is below:
“Trainer Chris Oakes has refused to relocate his two Breeders Crown horses (“Split The House” and “Luck Be Withyou” both aged pace Breeders Crown entrants) entered at the Meadowlands to a training facility and or farm here in New Jersey. We also offered Mr. Oakes a compromise where as we would allow him to continue to train his two horses at his farm in Pennsylvania but under 24 hour surveillance paid for by us. Mr. Oakes at this time has continued to refuse as we have not heard from him and or his attorney Howard Taylor. The New Meadowlands Racetrack under the direction of our Chairman Jeffrey R. Gural is hereby requesting that both Mr. Oakes horses be scratched from the aged Breeder Crown finals this Friday, October 28th. Again, the two horses are Split the House and Luck Be Withyou.”
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