Gural: Racing Needs ‘One Holistic Anti-Doping Approach’

by | 10.11.2015 | 12:11pm
Jeff Gural

In an opinion piece for the New Jersey Star-Ledger, racetrack operator Jeff Gural offers his “wholehearted support” for the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act introduced by congressmen Andy Barr and Paul Tonko in July.

“It is my strong hope that the legislation will soon be broadened to include standardbred racing, as well as any other racing breed that is committed to truly pursuing national, effective medication reform,” Gural wrote.

Gural, who operates Meadowlands Racetrack, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs, announced last month his racetracks had joined the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity, whose members Gural describes in the opinion piece as representing “a cross section of stakeholders who are committed to changing the status quo.”

“We are one industry, with one public image, and we need one holistic anti-doping approach,” wrote Gural.

Read more at the New Jersey Star-Ledger

  • Concerned Observer

    Well said. Logical, and well worth a few minutes reading time.

  • Buckpasser

    Jeff Gural is one of the best. It was too bad that he didn’t win the Aqueduct casino as he was the underbidder to Genting.


    There are a few stalwarts in our business that are truly dedicated to doing what is right for our industry. Jeff Gural is certainly one of these. He has made sacrifices to his own program for the long term benefit to racing. He and Indiana’s former commission executive director Joe Gorajec are truly two of the good guys who place ethics and a level playing field at the top of the pyramid.
    Joe Gorajec’s recent dismissal on the grounds that he did not “promote racing” is an obvious smokescreen for the true reason–He did too good of a job of purging Indiana of cheats, exposing a deficit with an accredited testing lab, and publicly expressing his opinion supporting Federal Legislation for drug oversight.
    What better way is there to “promote racing” than by re-establishing the trust of the public and the participants?

    I just hope that Jeff Gural does become the same victim of the dark side.

    • larry

      As someone who is nothing more than a fan, to re-establish my trust in all of this Mr Casner would be to see the entire process of how inquires work for the betting public be put on the agenda as well. Owner appeals that create two outcomes from one horse race is not integrity. If the owners want appeals then its time to just payout to the public the way it ran on the racetrack. Thats integrity ! In a day and age when the betting public is playing for more money on a pick 6 than the owners are racing for over an entire card of racing the betting public deserves to be treated better than second class citizens . It really pains me to see this industry squander such an opportunity to use the internet to build the handle through the sale of your own product. It pains me even more when the leaders in this industry cannot see the integrity issue with the process this industry follows with regards to inquires. The process is there to use it for tote manipulation the way it is currently set up. We don t trust trainers without testing, why should the betting public trust those who are in charge of the fixing the outcome of a race when the process will turn right around and give the owner an appeal anyway?


        I agree with you in total. Being able to certify the integrity of every aspect of racing is paramount if we are to ever to regain public trust. The Federal government granted us monopoly on interstate gambling in 1978 when horse racing was the highest attended sport in the nation. We should have been able to leverage that legislation into a phenomenal sports entertainment product. There are a multitude of reasons why we have blown that opportunity but the unwillingness to dedicate ourselves to the highest standards of integrity and customer service lead that list.

        • larry

          Thank you so much for your response Mr Caster and congratulations on standing the sire of American Pharoah

    • Kevin Callinan

      While I agree that the two men are industry leaders in cleaning up the sport I feel the comparison ends there. Gural has built a beautiful, all purpose facility, relentlessly markets his product and seems hands on in all facets. The other gentleman did one job very well. His employer wanted him to pay more attention to the entire product- you have called it a smoke screen. I have two questions for you- of the 60K that attended the well marketed Haskell and bet 20M did one patron leave the track talking about quality of NJ’s testing program? Also, auditing a vendor’s performance in any business is important and viable but usually discreet (you talk to the vendor one on one); why was it necessary to embarrass the testing facility publicly?

      • Apples and oranges. Another guy trying to hijack a legitimate discussion.

        • Chancey Gardner

          It is obvious to me that certain organizations and even stables have shills paid to propagandize in these types of pages.

          • togahombre

            he has a different view, whats so hard to accept about that without the conspiracy excuse

        • Kevin Callinan

          At least you didn’t call me illiterate; you think focusing 24/7 on drugs in the game is going to save it- I don’t. It’s only a legitimate discussion if you agree w/ it.

  • Chancey Gardner

    Thoroughbred racing needs a track owner like this.

    • Agreed. Last year, the Jockey Club made $250,000 available to Thoroughbred track to conduct out-of-competition testing. Only approximately $100k was actually used, meaning the tracks aren’t taking advantage of a perfect opportunity to insure the integrity of their product. That’s just one example of how the tracks are going after the cheaters.

      • Ben van den Brink

        racing is not interested in getting more black eyes, so hence the lack of interests for using the amounts on the table.

        • You are one billion percent correct, sir.

          • Ben van den Brink

            Sorry for my ultimate bad english.

        • They’re off

          Spot on

  • Larry Cook

    standard bred racing needs more than just drug reform. its been stuck in the Herve Filion mode for decades.

    • I agree to a certain extent, but at least Jeff Gural is making a valiant attempt and for this he deserves lots of credit.

    • William Waters

      Larry, kindly define the vague term, “the Herve Filion mode.” Thanks.

      • Michael Castellano

        I see you’ve never followed harness racing! I would have used the term “Benny Shotgun Webster” mode.

  • Jess is a hero.

  • Charles Smith

    When it comes to promoting integrity in horse racing, the names that come to mind are Jeff Gural and Doc Allred. Dr. Allred has done what he could to fight the plague of cheating horsemen at Los Al, despite struggling with health issues and advanced age. With the racetrack liquidator, F. Jack Liebau joining the management team at Los Alamitos, who knows what might happen if Dr. Allred is no longer in the picture.

  • Northern Dancer

    A multi-faceted approach is needed. When was the last time a racetrack denied on-site stalls, and track privileges to multi-violating drug Trainers? None that I know of. In fact, they usually get their stall allocations increased while Trainers with clean records are repeatedly denied access to on-site stalls which is a huge disadvantage.

  • Andrew A.

    The current testing system is severely flawed. The supposed Gold Standard is the USADA. The USADA testing system is hopelessly flawed as well.

    Watch this recent EPIX documentary called Doped: The Dirty Side of Sports

    Here is a trailer link.;_ylt=A0SO8ycZ4xtWCykAZ3ZXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyOWdoZTJqBGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjA5MzJfMQRzZWMDc3I-?p=Doped%3A+The+Dirty+Side+of+Sports&

    Travis Tygart is in the documentary and so if a former CEO of WADA. Once you watch the full documentary you can only conclude that the supposed “Gold Standard” for testing is a farce. They’ve ruined the lives of many innocent people including Olympic Athletes. It’s all about money, politics, and power.

    I am for a level playing field and standardized testing and penalties BUT after I watched this well done documentary I threw my hands in the air because there is no solution right now. The guys who are good at cheating rarely get caught.

    Take the time to watch the documentary at the EPIX website or on the EPIX channel.

  • Ernest Vincent

    Racing is a zero sum game on All levels. The tracks presently compete with each other on all levels. Getting them to cooperate with one-another, and dictating to each state’s ‘government’ and commission jurisdictions is a gigantic undertaking.

    • BreakingDeadMen

      That’s not really true. The tracks are happy to take other signals, they are happy to promote big events at other tracks.

      • Ernest Vincent

        This is in relationship to the topic of this article.
        Not about simulcasting signal and sharing of handle between host track and simo locations.

      • Ernest Vincent

        Also, in terms of signal coops, Google New York OTBs sever ties with Churchill Downs. Since after the Kentucky Derby.

        And pick up a copy of DRF (which now has its own betting portal) and see where they would leave the Churchill card out of their coverage for that edition. Church is Twinspires ADW.

  • Until you manage to get everyone to accept that the veterinary/nutrition lobbies are out of control the regulators won’t be able to see the wood for the trees. An outright ban on any sign of lasix or anti-inflammatories in the system on race-day is the logical place to start.

  • gus stewart

    i will agree that this guys intentions are spot on. Soooooo many other problems are as important but a commissioner for all breeds is the only thing that will fix it. and the only people that can make that happen are the horse owners. Forget about each tracks management, horse racing board etc, to make the hard choices, not gonna happen, job security is the issue. not a lot of exec positions in the horse biz.But the super trainer issues over the past 20 years has made betting the horses for a living…, you end up in fantasy land. So to get new fans to come back and get involved in solving the handicapping puzzle, you have to have consistency. the older fans are not playing as much for that reason. This was a 70 hour a week job for me back 1991 t0 1993. betting horses or playing cards or betting sports and make your living, is a big thrill.. I chose horses, after a year in a half worked more hour for less money that it became a hobby only,, I think many older fans for over the last 30 years only see it as that now!!!! fan duel, draft king, poker sites, spin their fans into thinking they can win,,,,, horse racing cant even deceive fans like these other sites do.. Oh I cant even start on TVG!!!!!!

  • Michael Castellano

    I’ve only been to the Meadowlands a few times, but I was impressed with the facility, which puts NYRA to shame. It makes the bettor/patrons feel like they are wanted, and not taken for granted, like flees on a dog. Gural would make a good national president for racing, if that were possible.

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