Four Veterinarians Hit With Criminal Charges Over Pre-Race Drug Administrations

by | 03.27.2015 | 12:33pm

The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that criminal charges were filed late yesterday in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg against four veterinarians involved in treating Thoroughbred race horses at Penn National Race Track, in Grantville, Penn.

According to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith, Dr. Kevin Brophy, age 60, Florida, Dr. Fernando Motta, age 44, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Dr. Christopher Korte, age 43, Pueblo, Colorado, and Dr. Renee Nodine, age 52, Annville, are each charged in separate Criminal Informations.

Each defendant is charged with allegedly administering drugs to thoroughbred race horses within 24 hours of when the horse was entered to race. This conduct was in violation of the state criminal law prohibiting the rigging of publicly exhibited contests; the administering of the drugs was not pursuant to a valid prescription and constituted misbranding of the prescription animal drugs in violation of federal law. The alleged activity took place at various times beginning as early as 1986 and continuing up to August 2014.

(Editor's Note: The Paulick Report has learned the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission may suspend or revoke the racing licenses of each veterinarian named in the indictments.)

The Informations also allege that the defendants conspired with horse trainers, whose identities are “known to the United States”, to administer the drugs in violation of the laws, rules and regulations governing the conduct of Thoroughbred racing.

The government also filed plea agreements with each of the four veterinarians in which they agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with the United States in the continuing investigation. The plea agreements are subject to the approval of the court.

According to the charges, trainers allegedly placed orders for drugs and the defendants, after administering the drugs, backdated the billing records to avoid detection. The defendants allegedly submitted false veterinarian treatment reports to the State Horse Racing Commission, omitting from those reports any reference to the drugs administered to horses at the track on race day. The filing of these reports and the backdating of billing records were, allegedly, to further the conspiracy by concealing the illegal activity. These acts had the potential to defraud other owners and trainers whose horses were entered in the same race and defrauded the betting public as well.

The matter is being investigated by the Harrisburg Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission, U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations, and the Pennsylvania State Police. Assistant United States Attorney William A. Behe is prosecuting the cases for the United States.

Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The maximum penalty in these cases under the federal statute is 2 years imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $200,000 fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners president G. Kent Carter, DVM, issued the following statement regarding the charges: 

“We are disappointed to learn of the allegations against four AAEP members involved in treating Thoroughbred racehorses at Penn National Race Track. We are not privy to the details of the allegations beyond what has been reported in the press.

“Ethical practice is a necessary requirement in all aspects of veterinary medicine. All veterinarians are expected to follow the American Veterinary Medical Association Code of Ethics, the ethics code of their state veterinary medical association, and all rules and regulations of horse racing that apply at the racetracks where practicing.

“The health and welfare of the horse can only be protected when veterinarians abide by the ethical code that we are bound to as part of veterinary medicine. It is paramount that AAEP members and all veterinarians practicing at the racetrack adhere to the highest ethical standards in order to protect the racehorse and the integrity of the sport.”

The Association of Racing Commissioners International released the following statement: 

“Today's indictments are indicative of how racing commissions are teaming up with law enforcement and other government agencies to enforce laws designed to protect horses and the integrity of racing,”said RCI President Ed Martin.

Racing commissions are quietly working to involve other regulatory and law enforcement entities to pool resources and take advantage of the collective jurisdictional reach of various entities to ensure that all regulations and laws are followed and enforced.

Martin said that similar efforts are underway in other jurisdictions and he praised the cooperative work of Pennsylvania racing regulators, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and the Pennsylvania State Police for their work in building the case for the indictments announced today.

RCI will meet in Tampa, Florida on April 21-23, 2015, and of special interest to be discussed are State Veterinary Board requirements that prescription medications be dispensed only upon a valid diagnosis for a specific patient. The American Association of State Veterinary Boards will be participating in the RCI discussions.

Today's indictments claim that the defendants allegedly submitted false veterinarian treatment reports to the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission. The indictments also claim that drugs were not administered pursuant to a valid prescription and constituted misbranding of the prescription animal drugs in violation of federal law.

In 2012, five state racing commissions formally requested the assistance of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in multi-jurisdictional racing commission investigations. Martin said the FDA has been an invaluable resource and partner since then, as have other agencies that are now working with various state racing commissions.

  • NY Owner

    They need to lose their licenses too. The only way to stop this behavior is to throw the book at them. I hope part of the plea is to throw trainers and anyone else involved directly under the wheels of the bus. Our industry can’t take much more of this.

    • Mimi Hunter

      I think they may loose the licenses automatically if the crime is classed as a felony, but I’m not sure – and don’t know where to check

      • TiffanyA

        I think you would need to check with the Dept of professional regulation for Pennisylvania.

      • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

        They will not lose their licenses automatically, but it is grounds for at least a disciplinary hearing before the board since the grounds for one include committing a felony or misdameanor that is deemed to be of moral turpitude. That is according to the PA Practice Act. So I would think they would at least investigate it. Or at least I hope they would.

        • Mimi Hunter

          Then Vet licenses are different from Nsg licenses.

  • I sure hope this amounts to more than slaps on the wrist.

  • race

    1986 through 1914?–which means they admitted to this, or what?–I mean when did they start the investigation for goodness sakes–

    • 2hoursfromsaratoga

      Good question.Someone’s been working on it for thirty years?

  • Bill Landes

    Federal intervention may be the only way to enforcement. “I’m Agent Smith from the FBI and I’d like to talk” may be the only way to make folks pucker.

    • Elliott ness

      Let’s hope and pray that all the breeding farms are not subjected to the same Federal puckering dynamic pertaining to undocumented workers illegally gaining schooling, medical care, all county services, plus robbing jobs from citizens. These vets I am sure all have families , children etc. What they have done is wrong, but they have been singled out, for it occurs at every track and training center in the country. I feel for these vets, for it has been status quo for decades. It is simple when a person is wealthy to shout down from the mountain top about what is ethical and moral to the struggling folks in the valleys.

      • togahombre

        this was their choice, their not victims, now that their backed up to the ledge they’ll find out what it feels like to trade their dignity for a cheap way out, if they feel like they were singled out, when it’s all settled they can go out and do it all over again, maybe it’ll work out different

        • Elliott ness

          It was not their choice, this behavior was grandfathered in, if they , the vets wanted to work, they were going to follow the trainers wishes, or be neutering cats at the humane society. This has been a culture of behavior for a 150 years. The first with a case, potential felons. This action by the FBI will be historical in changing grandfathered behavior. The immediate history and future of racing has changed, historical results will occur.

          • Bill O’Gorman

            Hysterical possibly – historical I’m not so sure.

          • Elliott ness

            The next time a trainer , requests a little help for his horse, the vet will be looking for federal eyes and cameras, possibly decline. It will change the history of outcomes of horse races. The vets, from mercedes to kia .

          • betterthannothing

            If a horse is a Kia he should run like a Kia not like a pumped-up Mercedes on drugs. if a horse needs “a little (chemical) help” he shouldn’t be running until he is fit and healthy especially because, based on your nervousness, what you call “a little help” must be much bigger than that.

          • Bill O’Gorman

            And if the trainer knew that he was taking the owner’s reputation in his hands when he asked for that help he might think about the ramifications from an ongoing business point of view.

          • betterthannothing

            Sure! Vets are the poor grand-fathered victims now! Cry me a river. They choose to work at the track and they choose to sell their souls to the devil. Why are you sounding like you are in a panic?

        • DJ Bryant

          The statement reading that they’ve all taken plea agreements and plead guilty for cooperation in a continuing investigation would lead one to believe trainers may go down next.

          • togahombre

            Probably where the authorities were looking to land all along

          • Hamish

            Along with those that were beneficiaries of the race purses and parimutuel wagers on the horses that were apparently “treated” in a special way.

          • youcantmakeitup

            No one is exempt in this investigation.These are easy convictions so far. No trials , just plea bargains. It will be that the feds arrested x amount of people and most if not all were convicted.

      • diastu in tempe

        Oh yeah. Lots of U.S. citizens wanna work 16 hours a day for minimum (or less) wages with no benefits, sleep in empty stalls, bathe in restrooms, cook in barn aisle-ways, and hope they are “lucky” enough to find a backside school for their kids. Go watch the PBS America Reframed episode called “A Stable Life” then tell me about all the jobs being stolen from Americans. Those cheater and unethical vets were all making a good living. I doubt their kids or families are suffering.

        • freereign

          Fact is, there are many Americans who live at farms and on the race tracks in employer/track provided housing, medical care, and even meal and babysitting plans, and offtrack housing supplemental income. Some are taxpayer supported. It is not the fault of horsemen, but corrupt corporate owned politicians, that toxic taxpayer exposure of undocumented immigrant labor is enabled. It is wrong to confuse the toxic economic exposure of gangster state labor mkt product/forces, with a necessary sector of the American employment spectrum.
          Trade agreements never stemmed the tide of economic refugees, as laws to protect Americans’ hard fought for standing and standards are disregarded. The last three decades of toxic Fed funded exploitation of market rigging and trade dumping of undocumented labor mkt product/forces onto our economy is the problem which is destroying the middle market in many sectors, and the lower classes’ viability. This is meant to destroy the still viable farmer/entrepreneur/businessman/small trainer class. You are a victim of misdirected anger and compartmentalized logic. “Stable life’ reveals the effects of such toxic exposure and exploitation of defenseless, unrepresented workers. THAT is why their exploiters’ owned politicians do not want this taxpayer(not CORP OWNER) destroying exposure on record.

  • Nayrod

    Finally, these vets are being included into these scandals Hope they add more to the list, I have some in mind!

  • Keyne

    Love him or hate him,nearly everything Mike Gill said about Penn National is coming to light as absolute truth.He’s kinda like the Jose Canseco of racing…

    • togahombre

      dr brophy was his witch doctor

    • TRUTH

      Yea Right and just like Canseco he only “blew the whistle” because he wasn’t allowed to partake in the cheating and stealing.

    • KY RACE FAN

      THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HE SAID—HOW TRUE!!!!!!

  • Dpuppet

    William A. Behe was the same US Attorney that prosecuted David Wells. Maybe this sport has finally found a strong ally. Thank you, we need you in California!

  • David Juffet

    It’s about time!

  • Bill O’Gorman

    We can only imagine the shock and distress that the owners of the horses are suffering at this time, and ask that they be allowed privacy in which to grieve..

    • diastu in tempe

      Heh heh. And pack suitcases for impromptu vacations. Poor babies.

  • wbinb

    Ive had probably 200 seconds and thirds that were decided by a head maybe I should sue the vets for my loss in purses

    • LongTimeEconomist

      How about the times when the winner you cashed a bet on was one of their subject horses???

      • Bill O’Gorman

        You must accept that No bettor has ever benefited from anything like this; as with disqualifications, they Always lose!

  • Ben van den Brink

    It,s about the only way in the US, to clean up the mess. But up till now, the mess only gets more and more.

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    This is a very interesting first step in at least looking at the Veterinary Profession in their role in this. And I don’t say that lightly being a member of the Profession, and the profession in PA myself.

  • 4Bellwether666

    Lot of people sweating bullets involved in ‘The Game’ top to bottom…

  • Harry

    Too bad it is just 4 of them. Expand the investigation.

  • Bill Casner

    Will the “Frog Juice” vets in Louisiana be next??????

    • naprovniknaprovnik

      Those Cajuns are super tight-knit … doubtful.

  • baddabing

    Sounds like David Wells might be singing

    • youcantmakeitup

      Everyone of them who made a plea deal is singing.They are turning on each other.

  • Hamish

    There may come a day when cheating to win a race at the horse’s and other’s expense will be out of fashion.

    • diastu in tempe

      We probably won’t live long enough, but we can dream.

    • betterthannothing

      Cheating will never be out of fashion until the abusers and cheaters are gone and the cheating culture has changed which I doubt it ever will, sadly for the horses and those who deserve to face fair competition.

    • AngelaInAbilene

      I hope you’re not holding your breath.

  • perks

    setting a precedence for future court cases…. Love it!! Maybe johnny mac can help them?

  • Needles

    Veterinarians and trainers in Maryland and Parx beware. They are watching you too. Keep hitting those horses 3 hours out from a race and you will be headed to jail.

    • Bill O’Gorman

      Veterinarians and trainers Do Not operate in isolation. If the owner was the ultimate insurer then things would improve.

      • togahombre

        even those leading the way for clean racing will never go for that, the owners are the unsuspecting victims

        • Bill O’Gorman

          Well, to be fair, they are unsuspecting victims in many ways!! But if they knew that they were going to get a red face then they’d make sure that the trainers spared their blushes; as it is they flock to the liberty takers, quite prepared to throw their arms in the air in horror if things do go wrong.

        • Hamish

          This is not always the case, as “They” does not apply to all.

          • togahombre

            true, find an industry leader or reform organization that has come out in favor of meaningful reform in terms of owner responsibility, i don’t know of any

          • Hamish

            I’d love to see owners take full responsibility, but as a part of this, the trainers would have to cede complete control of the horsemen organizations back to those paying the bills, those taking the financial risks, and those making the merry go round, the owners.

          • Bill O’Gorman

            I don’t think togahombre is talking about organisational responsibility, I think he means responsibility in the sense that their name will be on the charge sheet. They already have enough influence in the organisations to make quite sure that it will never happen. Do you believe that Al Zarooni acted alone?

          • Hamish

            I know what Toga is talking about. My point is lets go to complete owner responsibility, who cares what existing alphabet group says otherwise. But, trainers would have to take a back seat on all issues to the horse owners, including having no voice or vote at the horsemen organization levels in each state as a result of not being on the hook for trainer responsibilty rules. Only owners would shape negotiations and purse agreements with racetracks, enable and fund drug testing research groups, etc. Let the franchise (racehorse) owners be responsible for both good and bad.

          • togahombre

            your describing the breeding industry, with all the partnerships today owners far outnumber trainers in the hba’s, if a minority of trainer-members are determining policy please explain how that can be

          • Hamish

            Owners feeling left out of the process, not invited to the inner circle meetings. The culture in the past 30 years in American racing of letting “my trainer” take care of things, this while the owners own sport has deteriorated and been degraded. The old saying, “Owners are like mushrooms, better off left in the dark.” Look at the NY horsemen’s org election and the way partnership interests were ignored in the balloting. The threats of horsemen org leadership that they are in charge andthe omerta that minions should not challenge their authority. Based on what I see from you, you know all these answers and conditions Toga, so your probably quite typical of someone in THA/HBPA horse leadership that challenges constituents to bring forward a case so that the accuser can then suffer retribution or retaliation when confronted by the cabals leadership. Good enough?

          • togahombre

            sounds more like paranoia, your assuming all owners are like-minded, very simplistic

          • Hamish

            You dear Toga are an offensive boob and out of touch with the real truth, most probably in denial. Good luck.

          • togahombre

            i’ve been called alot worse in more languages than i can remember, if your reverting to name calling and offering your opinion of myself i guess your not in the mood currently to further this discussion

          • Hamish

            hey pal, you called me paranoid and very simplistic, that’s personal and rather offensive. That’s your style on this forum. You threw the first punch. As far as I can see, you have nothing of substance to add, although you are an active blogger. No further discussion with me until you play fair. I’m not going anywhere.

          • togahombre

            allow me to apologize; references to cabals, omerta and “…the real truth…” are simply clear, level-headed observations

          • KY RACE FAN

            YOU SHOULD APOLOGIZE—-YOU WERE OUT OF LINE HERE!!!!!

      • Alex

        Correct; the horse owners paid for these services. Following the money answers most of the questions.

        • Larry Ensor

          And exactly where do you get your “inside” information from?
          Your comment cast a very broad blanket and is completely unfair. If you knew how things “work” you would not accuse
          owners by and large of paying for nefarious services. I have been paying training and vet bills for
          years. I “do” horses for a living and know how to “read between the lines”. I question anything that does not pass the “sniff
          test”. There is not a trainer or a vet in the English speaking world that can
          BS me. I’ve been around the block far
          more than once. If a trainer and a vet are in cahoots the “pay off” does not
          come from owners. Unless the trainer and vet are complete idiots.

          • Bill O’Gorman

            Larry you are being hard on Alex – if your trainer understands that if he takes a liberty with one of your horses you will remove the horse and report him, then, obviously, none of this applies to you.

      • jonrand

        Many, if not most. owners are absentees. While some may be complicit in cheating, most lack the time or expertise to be looking over their trainer’s or vet’s shoulder. As chronic money losers, owners already are the “ultimate insurers.”

        • Bill O’Gorman

          The fact that you are losing money does not justify your employees cheating – that’s the point.

          • Hamish

            In America, under the current system that’s been racing culture for decades, trainers and vets, other than in a few private stables, are subcontractors and not employees of the owner. Perhaps special documents could be prepared to hold the vets and trainers financially responsible to the owners in the event of a positive test and disqualification without creating an employer/employee relationship?

          • Bill O’Gorman

            Why do you need any special relationship? You could just say “do not take any chances with my horses because I don’t want anyone to say that I have been cheating”. As long as the trainer takes all the blame no-one has that conversation – in fact they are queuing up to join him.

          • jonrand

            No, the point is that most owners have little control over their trainers or vets. It’s clear you don’t get that when you describe trainers as “employees.” They are independent contractors. The few fellow owners I know all hire honest trainers, and honest trainers and owners are the biggest victims of cheats. They lose races they should be winning and may claim horses whose form can’t be reproduced honestly. And by the way, using Penn National as an example of U.S. racing is like using Yemen as an example of a robust democracy.

          • Bill O’Gorman

            I never mentioned Penn. I assure you that most owners Do think of trainers as employees. But let that pass: it is not difficult to instruct a trainer Not to do x, or y, or z with your horses. If you do not make your wishes clear then you are complicit in his actions. And if you are going to be penalised as complicit then you will, presumably, have that conversation. I think the idea that trainers are running amok unsuspected by their owners is far fetched.

          • jonrand

            And how many horses have you owned? How many conversations have you had with trainers? You make a lot of assumptions, and I don’t think you have a clue as to what you are talking about. Do you tell an auto mechanic what he or she should be doing or not doing with your car’s engine? If a trainer is suspended for a serious violation, the owner should be required to find another trainer or be told to move his or her horses off the grounds.

          • Bill O’Gorman

            To answer your queries: not too many, thank goodness, and several. I’m sorry if you think I make too many assumptions, but common sense [ a rare commodity] dictates that if owners shared the pain as well as the supposed gain then they would look at things differently – they would actively instruct their trainers to behave themselves.

          • Guest

            Losing the purse can be pretty painful.

          • Bill O’Gorman

            But if you backed him it might still be ok. Plenty of people here lose much more than the purse to buy a heavily backed certainty in after winning a selling race and still have a good result overall.

    • Alex

      You say, “Veterinarians and trainers in Maryland and Parx beware. They are watching you too. Keep hitting those horses 3 hours out from a race and you will be headed to jail.”
      Please provide proof. List the ones you claim to be breaking the law.

    • Hamish

      Wells’ attorney Russo suggested that the feds are interetsed in other states as well, so who knows where.

  • 2hoursfromsaratoga

    Wouldn’t you love to see HRTV&TVG interviewing trainers and vets for their opinions?

    • Jack Frazier

      They won’t. Heads buried too far up their keisters.

      • naprovniknaprovnik

        Their job is to have eyes wide shut, no matter what happens.

  • JoeJoe

    Michael Gill, we all knew you were right. Its taken awhile, but well done. Penn is a disgrace. How can administration at Penn show their collective faces. In a year, the track will shutdown.

    • Race Fan

      Spot on comment JoeJoe. Chris McErlean and the entire crew of Penn Gaming are becoming a laughing stock. The cash cow of Charles Town is running dry and no one wagers on the new Hog Valley. Sad to say but Penn Gaming doesn’t care about the sport of racing and whoever tells you that they do is lying right to your face!

  • hairdr90277

    Is there significant amounts of money to be made for the vets participating in this behavior? Where does the money come from? If not, what is their incentive?

    • Guest owner

      The old time vets say, “Now everyone will have to practice real veterinarian medicine.” Think of the owners and trainers when a horse has an issue. Do they have the patience and finesse to back off training and give the horse time to get over it? Can they pull shoes and turn the horse out for 60-90 days?

      • free reign

        Amen. I worked as asst for a trainer who was leading % trainer for the decade pre-equipoise/epo/clenb/shock n block…and gastroguard. I have seen that all of the professionals took the “if you can’t beat ’em join ’em” approach.” The fact that boarding/feed/hay/fuel doubled in 15 yrs made layups so expensive for owner/trainers. Imagine that plus the vet bills as stress on the already overstressed middle market owner/trainer.

  • AngelaFromAbilene

    Their admissions should not surprise anyone who’s be in the business for any length of time. I’m just very glad to see what most of us have always know coming to light.

  • Jack Frazier

    It would be eye opening to know who the trainers are.

  • Can we swap them for five POWs in Afghanistan?

  • Race Fan

    No wonder the Mid-Atl strike is now over and everyone can wager again. They needed something to distract John Q Public from this news. Just another story about race fixing at Penn

    I for one don’t wager on bad racing run by bad people

  • TRUTH

    It’s easy to say something AFTER the charges are filed is it not ? you can rag on PA racing all you want but the truth is you would all be fools if you thought stuff like this isn’t happening in every state at every track. trainers in CA and NY claim horses off of each other and move them up with no problem. that’s not horsemanship that’s drugs.

    • Pat SayJack

      Steve Byk says all they do is reshoe , change the feed, and whisper sweet nothings in their ears.

    • Guest Owner

      I beg to differ.

  • diastu in tempe

    I hope those vets sing like canaries about all the trainers they’ve serviced. Round ’em all up, FBI.

    • Robert Smith

      Rember one thing the vets made money on this. So yes the trainers should be held acountable but the vets took the money.

  • Sheldon Glass

    The alleged activity took place at various times beginning as early as 1986 and continuing up to August 2014.
    This is a joke right? 1986-2014..Must be a typo….28 frikin years? Really? WTF took them so long….Glad these guys aren’t for for the TSA…..

  • betterthannothing

    Naming the perps is good. Now, please name the drugs!

  • Sandi

    Dr. Nodine, can also name owners/trainers, who are in possession of illeagle drugs & are able to administer them. This happened about a year ago. A friend went to look at a horse & she asked if the owner was able to administer ac. If you need names & detail, I can get info from my friend

  • naprovniknaprovnik

    Racing refuses to clean its own house.

  • Jay

    Too many vets, too few horses= federal intervention?

  • Robert Smith

    Ok we are at the point that the public wants all drugs gone. The thing is that the vets in most cases are trying help the horse just like the trainer. In some cases they are cheating. I think we need uniform rules for all states. In one state you can run on some drugs the next it is illegal. I am for bigger fines or suspensions but it needs to be the same for todd pletcher as well for Robert Smith. In other wise the same for the big guy and the little guy. We all know the big guys get some free passes.

    • Really?

      I’m not sure what they are looking at here is anything mind blowing. Maybe some anti mucous drugs or something. The real secrets can only be disclosed by doing out of competition testing for exotic clenbuterol, steroids, etc. This is a start though.

      • Robert Smith

        Keeneland is doing tight secuity on the Bluegrass but not on the other stakes that day. What does that say.

        • betterthannothing

          Good point. Better than nothing but mostly done by various tracks for PR purpose, not to protect all horses from abuse or honest horsemen from being cheated since drugs that enable and enhance performance can be administered to horses before 3 days to post and only the cheaters know how many of them are flying under the radar.

          • Robert Smith

            That is the point. We are going for pr not what is best for the horse. The public only knows what we report. Like i think Todd has the best horses the best help The best vets and still gets a free ride. What happened to the coke possitive in Fl no one knows.

          • Bill O’Gorman

            Again we have to divorce the “what is best for the horse” argument from the doping issue.

        • Bill O’Gorman

          The technical term is ” B******t baffles brains”.

      • Bill O’Gorman

        This confusion about “what we are talking about here” is a big part of resolving this matter.

    • Bill O’Gorman

      If the big owners were going to wind up with egg on their own faces then the big trainers might not need so many free passes.

  • Needles

    Ed Martin. Please spare us. This investigation is because of a bunch of derelicts with the PHRC not doing their job. You need to get the facts straight before you look like the inept empty suit you are.
    Thank You

  • Robert Smith

    The vets got paid for what they did. It does not make it right but. Know they want the trainers to pay the price. The trainers are lucky if they get paid in 30 days. Hey Barry when you send a horse to a trainer do you send money in advance

  • Robert Smith

    Most trainers have 45 days or mre into a horse before getting paid. Then the owner wants to run them were the cannot win. The vet gets paid the rider gets paid the feed man etc. Know the feds want to tell us what to do.

    • Bill O’Gorman

      Robert, would not [sensible] trainers prefer to train on the basis that the owner as well as they themselves suffer the indignity if they break the rules?

  • snooki

    I think some of our favorite trainers are about to resume their stress eating. Gives new meaning to the term “backside”. You can run, but you can’t hide

  • Flag Is Up

    WOW! If this doesn’t put a little scare into Veterinarians then I do not know what will. Just the cost to defend themselves against these charges should be enough to get their attention.

  • Three Stewarges

    Arrest after arrest. Was anything actually clean at that place? How would you like to be one of those 3 stooges that were responsible for officiating and the administration of justice at that circus of hillbilly carnies. I’m not sure how much you could blame the old one that retired, that looked like he had a mop on his head. Everyone knew he was missing his first clue since the late 70’s. And how about curly and his temper? Between his hot head and his questionable friends, he was about as objective as a Racing Secretary who was selling stalls like ballpark hot dogs. Everyone knows you can’t trust anyone who parades around in a car with flames on it. Maybe they will make a reality show from their follies at some point. They aren’t quite as intelligent as Honey boo boo and her mother but they sure were entertaining

    • Really?

      Yes, carnies is a good way of putting it. I’ve never seen so many dirty minded people in one place as Penn National. When the money came they all bought big houses and ran the show however they wanted. Crooked.

      • Hamish

        Why did PA ever let it get to this point? PA had a racing commission in place that should have been paying attention to this mess in conjunction with the racetracks and horsemen’s organizations. The PA racing program is loaded with $$$, so what the heck happened to doing what’s right in order to keep a good thing going? As this situation in PA continues to unfold while exposing corruption and wise guys/gals, the potential exists to effect all of horse racing nationwide.

  • Bill O’Gorman

    There’s no point in addressing this on a local basis – in fact it will likely do more harm than good , because every time something like this blows over the appetite for doing it again diminishes. Until all the vested interests accept that the sport needs to be cleaned up nothing meaningful can happen. I don’t see any possibility whatsoever of that taking place until the confusion between normal care and enhancement is denied. Britain and Europe seem to manage very well with medication policies which almost all Americans have accepted as completely unworkable – despite there being absolutely no difference in the genetic makeup of the horse populations. The only possible solution is that the owner becomes the policeman of last resort. They won’t do that.

  • Richard C

    The plea agreements better mean more than greasy apologies after dropping dimes — so the vets can jump right back into the pro sport they hideously (allegedly!) tarnished.

  • Gene

    Can someone tell me what the flapping mouth Executive Director of the HBPA will think these arrests will have on the precious handle? Possibly this sue happy clown should sue the vets now. Afterall, he’s been promising to sue the commission, state police, and FEDs after they shook down the God almighty Beattie barn a couple of days ago.

    • Really?

      Which Beattie? I’m assuming Todd since the Executive Director had horses in training with him….

  • Mr. Moo

    The feds bringing charges against these guys is an outstanding precedenc for the system opens the door to procute more of these drug dealing race fixing clowns
    Don’t think for a second vets don’t waiger on races in some way or another

  • Ida Lee

    How sad (and disgusting) that the very people these animals depend on for their welfare and trust to keep them healthy and sound are the ones who couldn’t care less and do the most harm.

  • Gene

    It’s been rumored that one of the vets arrested yesterday made the comment that if he or she ever goes down, they’ll all go down. HHHmmmmm!!! what does this mean? This means, “GAME OVER”!!! It’s going to be a rough Spring and summer for all the filthies at this cesspool.

  • Mr. Rogers

    Isn’t it odd that two of the vets arrested yesterday were on the grounds today working. According to this report all have plead guilty and seeking plea agreements. A Penn spokesman has said that all vets that were arrested are not permitted on the grounds. Did Penn drop the ball once again? Most likely in my opinion. Or maybe Penn is afraid to do anything to the vets since they have known about what goes on their backside and are involved. time will tell.

  • Ben van den Brink

    The reason to work solely with state vet,s on raceday is shown clearly in this case.

    But how many trainers are involved, and not just only in Pennsylvania, as it looks to me, that this is not restricted in just one state.

  • Jack Frazier

    When this story hit, I was not surprised and it was all the talk with people I know at the track. Two vets who run clean operations said that it costs them a lot of money not to do illegal things. One said that when they tell trainers they won’t do it, they are informed that they will get a vet who will. Whether in feed, injections or whatever, performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) are used by those who can afford them. There is an unlevel playing field at the track. You can tell which horses are on PED’s by watching them re-break when the other horses have hit the wall. Rumors persist on the backside but one has to remember that inside each rumor is a grain of truth.

    • betterthannothing

      “One said that when they tell trainers they won’t do it, they are informed that they will get a vet who will.”

      Very disturbing. If racing wanted to become clean and humane, those “clean” vets could have immediately and safely reported abusers and cheaters including dirty colleagues, offenders would have been banned especially if adequate surveillance and security measures were in place to identify and expose (and help prevent) cheaters.

      • Jack Frazier

        I don’t think those who are pushing the envelope want to change. They like the status quo. I have no illusions about being able to run with the big boys. I don’t have the money or the caliber of horses and I also have a set of ethics that will not let me use things I know may kill horses and riders. Anyone who has a conscience one cannot compete at their level or do what they do. It is sad. The tragedy is they don’t care if they kill a horse, they will just another one and continue the cycle.

        • Bill O’Gorman

          Well said. The sport has been very poorly served by those who were/are supposed to be running it, and ought to have policed it.

  • Robert F. OConnor

    The real headline is that they have already agreed to plead guilty!

    • Bill O’Gorman

      They can’t really do anything else. Dealing with them is not going to help very much though as long as most of the racing fraternity thinks that their biggest crime was getting caught. The only way to get on top of this is to ruthlessly ban people who will feel the disgrace socially. The trainers patently don’t care as they sail on under a flag of convenience – but an owner wants the bragging rights. I am certain that if owners made it clear to their trainers that they have no desire to be personally disgraced then trainers would almost universally respect their instructions. At the moment there is far too much nodding and far too much winking when things are going alright and too many arms thrown up in disbelief when things go wrong. The media is far too complicit in this – or at the very least too complacent. [poor Pippa Cuckson – a lone voice crying in the wilderness]

  • gregrobertson

    These guys will share an Eclipse Award this year..

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