HBPA’s Hamelback: We ‘Support Clean Racing In Our Sport. Period.’

by | 07.05.2017 | 7:58pm

Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National HBPA authored the following response to a piece written by Ray Paulick Wednesday regarding the outcome of the federal trial of trainer Murray Rojas in Pennsylvania:

The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and Pennsylvania HBPA support clean racing in our sport. Period. Despite what Mr. Paulick writes on his website, Pennsylvania HBPA enacted sweeping changes at Penn National Racetrack years ago. July 11, 2017 will mark the sixth anniversary since the organization became the first in the nation to ban veterinarians from treatment stalls. They also mandated that only independent, third parties can administer race day treatments. These practices have become the national standard.

The National Owner and Trainer Legal Defense Fund, the Pennsylvania HBPA, as well as other HBPA affiliates, provided legal support for thoroughbred trainer Murray Rojas because they strongly believe the federal Department of Justice overreached on what is clearly a state regulatory issue.

The court correctly found Ms. Rojas not guilty of charges related to this attempt to set a new legal precedent. We also take issue with how the federal government applies unlimited resources against a member who is charged with a crime and brings them to the brink of bankruptcy. We support the ability of our membership to properly defend themselves in the court of law, and we respect the ultimate decision of the court.

  • Bryan Langlois

    My Question to Mr. Hamelback is simple then. In his opinion, should trainer Stephanie Beattie still be allowed to have a trainers license in the state of PA after admitting under oath that she intentionally cheated, regardless of when this cheating occurred???

    • Sinking Ship

      Yank her license!

      • billy

        They should all be looked at management the commission trainers owners and anyone else who allowed this all and say you no longer have the privledge of being a part of this ever again

      • billy

        This guy shouldn’t have a job after such a boldface lie and complete bs statement maybe do some research first next time

    • Noval

      That’s a legal matter correctly in the hands of Pennsylvania authorities, not a decision for a lunch mob of internet commentors.

      • Bryan Langlois

        It is a simple question that I am asking this persons opinion on. If they come out and make the statement they are for clean racing. Period. then they should have no problem answering that questions. However, to appease you, let’s modify the question to say any trainer who admits to cheating. Should they be allowed to have a license in the state they are in? I know none of them will ever answer it, but they should be able to easily answer it if they back the statement they just made

        • Noval

          I’ll answer your question: the properly constituted legal authority with ability to learn all the facts should make all decisions. The jury and court, in Murray Rojas’ case. The Pennsylvania Racing Commission in cases of licensing. We have a system due process for a reason. It is far superior to mob rule by public opinion based on half-reported facts or slanted agenda-driven commentary.

          • billy

            It is far supior to mob rule by public opinion or slanted agenda driven commentary…..yea ok, how long has all this been going on, that due process works great, not to mention how long have these people been able to continue racing unabated it’s quite rediculous

          • Kevin Callinan

            First, I think the word you are looking for is lynch not lunch mob. Your use of that analogy is equally misinformed. Stephanie Beattie testified that 98% of the trainers cheat- which current or former HPBA rep would you like us to trust? The credibility of PA racing has reached a new low and the overwhelming majority demands change.

          • Jon

            Due process? One trainer was wearing a wire for the FBI. Why? Cause she was cheating and didn’t want to go to jail. And still allowed to train today.The lady on trial was found guilty of 14 felonies. And cheated between 2002-2014 per dept. of justice. Also a clocker, other trainers, multiple vets, and racing official were charged. If you say on witness stand under oath you cheated and 95-98 % of your competitors were. Then F your due process. If Ray didn’t cover nobody would have know.This lunch box horse racing fan has had it with people that defend cheaters.

          • Bryan Langlois

            You are right and I am all for due process being done in an expeditious manner. Everyone has that right. I fail to see though how you consider courtroom testimony under oath as half reported facts or slanted agenda driven commentary. You don’t need to do in depth investigations in this case or take months doing interviews. You just need to go to the courtroom transcript. This is where the question comes from. You have someone who, under oath, admitted to cheating. Exactly what other type of investigation will you be conducting? Or are you saying she was coerced into testifying to that? Mob rule or lynch mob mentality have no legal authority to make decisions, but thank you again for not giving a simple yes or no answer.

  • Jon

    If this is true from 2011 to 2014 under you great help beattie cheated…..did not go “clean” till 2014…her words….what a joke hamelback

    • Elle D

      If memory serves Eric was still GM at Adena Springs here in Kentucky during that time.

      • Jon

        Could’ve been, but don’t say the HBPA has been making sweeping changes. No matter who was in charge at the time. HBPA said sweeping changes for 6 years. Not me. HBPA are hypocrites. As far as i’m concerned.

  • Eric Camel Toe

    Eric Hammelback (err…Eric the Tiger) go back the rock you crawled out from under. You do not support clean racing because your board members in Pennsylvania (Rojas and St Beattie) were found to be habitual cheaters in the most recent trial. If you support clean racing are you taking action against your members who cheat? Are you going to make members sign an anti-cheating pledge? My guess is a resounding NO !!

    Also, based on spending habits over the past year or so I don’t believe for one second that Ms. Rojas is “on the verge of bankruptcy.”

    • ben

      There is no one able to serve two lords. If ones deeds are not in complience with ones it,s words, Than what is more important, his deeds or his word.????

  • Hamish

    Horsemen chiefs, what clowns! With any luck they keep talking and bury themselves all the more.

  • Mitzi Delahoussaye

    I think it’s interesting how this is being spun by the HBPA. First, Murray Rojas was and will most likely be the only one receiving your “legal fund” Second, over the past two years, Murray’s own horses have earned nearly $350,000 and that’s only from 121 starts so the horses have been profitable. Lastly, I find it interesting that Murray is now asking the horseman for their financial support “because it could happen to them” when a few years ago according to an article that Ray wrote she was ratting on her own horseman. By the way, only 3.87% of all federal convictions are overturned so anyone donating to this “legal fund” is throwing good hard earned money after bad. Lawyers love appeals it just makes them richer !!! PERIOD…..

    • greg

      earning $350k from 121 starters is an avg of LESS than $3k a start, hardly making a killing

      • Juice

        Not for California but in that region it’s solid and it’s profitable. There’s profit there. She never said she was making a killing did she?

        • greg

          that’s true, I wasn’t considering that, you’re correct

  • Raycing W

    this guy epitomizes everything that is wrong with racing. You have people on the stand admitting their guilt, but if you listen to this buffoon, you would think they did nothing wrong. In fact, this dumbass thinks she was found innocent, when in fact, on any charge that truly dealt with the drugging issues, she was found guilty. How in the hell does a guy like this get to represent the truly good, hardworking, honest trainers that the hbpa should be helping. This response alone should get him removed from his position. Can fix a lot of things in life, but can’t fix stupid.

    • ben

      I really do think that Mr. H. lost integrity, any part of self respect, and is throwing hard working honest horseman under the bus, let the rigging goes on.

      The defending of thieves (cheaters) is clearly enough a statement what is gooiing on.

  • Lily FaPootz

    “… We also take issue with how the federal government applies unlimited resources against a member who is charged with a crime and brings them to the brink of bankruptcy….”

    But you don’t give a rat’s patoot about how much money your buddies bilk and defraud the betting public. Wait, let me get my violin …

    News FLASH! It is the Federal Government’s JOB to try these cases, and in my opinion, you won a battle, but the war might just be a different outcome.

  • David Worley

    Ridiculous.

  • SteveTG

    Actions speak louder than words.

  • Ted

    I guarantee you Noval is a Democrat

    • gus stewart

      Democrat republican sorry makes no difference to me, he is on someone’s payroll as many are here in california in racing biz. As my father would ask him after his response, ok great, and how much do you charge to stroke a party of a thousand.

    • Manefan

      Geez! I’d guess that Noval is Apolitical and Amoral when it comes to making $$ and gaining influence.

      • Noval

        Manefan, you are correct. There is no Republican or Democratic way to make money, which is what I am ultimately aiming to do in racing. And Gus, sorry to disappoint you, I am on my own payroll. But if you know someone who will pay me to post my views, please send them my way, I can use the money!

        • gus stewart

          My apologies i meant hamalback

          • Noval

            No worries, paisano!

        • Manefan

          I know, right? I mean, would Richard M. Daley have cared if he were labeled Republican or Democrat? My guess is only in so far as the label recognition could maintain his power and the machine. He was, ironically, called American Pharaoh in a book of the same name. In the end, I think you know that we all posting here care that racing be fair and that the horses’ health and well-being be top priority.

  • Peter Scarnati

    “The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and Pennsylvania HBPA support clean racing in our sport. Period.” says Mr. Hamelback. Egads!!
    What organization connected with the racing industry WOULDN’T make such a statement. I would bet that Rojas and Beattie would say the same exact thing. Is there some horse group out there that would come out publicly and state they DON’T support clean racing?
    Problem is, Mr. Hamelback’s carefully chosen words mean absolutely nothing. “Period.” It’s the fraud perpetrated on the betting public (which provide the industry will virtually all of its revenue, BTW) race after race, day after day and year after year which hold true meaning.

  • whirlaway

    No states truly support clean racing or we would see that happening, give me a break.

  • Tinky

    “The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and Pennsylvania HBPA support clean racing in our sport. Period.”

    I think that he meant “Ellipsis”, rather than “Period”. As in:

    The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and Pennsylvania HBPA support clean racing in our sport…with the exception of Lasix, which is performance enhancing, and used promiscuously in the U.S., in spite of the fact that two-thirds of the world’s Thoroughbreds race successfully without it, and that only a very small percentage of horses truly require it in order to race.

    “We support the ability of our membership to properly defend themselves in the court of law, and we respect the ultimate decision of the court.”

    So, as the court essentially found that Rojas was systematically cheating, and over a very long period of time, essentially defrauding all of those who wagered on races in which her horses took part, presumably your organization will support a lifetime ban.

  • Mike Oliveto

    Ahahahahahahahaha!!! Oh…wait…Hamelback is serious?

  • Outside looking in

    If Mr. Hamelback and the HPBA support or defend a cheater, they are cheating all the all clean members of the organization.

  • Richard C

    An April Fools’ Day spoof — nothing more, nothing less.

  • Mike Oliveto

    We have testimony under oath about the cheating. How about a class action lawsuit filed against all those complicit? Shotgun approach. Sue them all from the vets and trainers to the stewards to track management all the way up the line.

  • bill landes

    Throw out the legal arguments—–what are the ethical grounds for circumventing the regulations for all these years?

  • Steve S

    Both trainers and the vets involved should loose their license period. And Hamleback should have never spent a dollar of HBPA money. Horseman should be furious. I’m a former trainer and this made me mad enough I had to comment.

  • Buzzer

    This makes 0 sense. But thanks for posting.

    • Canarse

      It’s too bad you don’t get it.

  • Michael Castellano

    Any sport based on gambling is going to be prone to cheating. Lax enforcement makes it common place. No enforcement makes it epidemic. Racing officials have demonstrated time and time again that they cannot be trusted with enforcement of effective measures to prevent cheating. Without an independent body of some sort with the authority to enforce measures which discourage cheating and make it unprofitable and risky, nothing will ever change.

  • Threerules

    If Lance Armstrong was a horse he would still be racing. Period!

  • Jack Myoff

    If you build a 12 ft wall, some crooked trainer will build a 13 ft ladder. If you think these 2 fine ladies are the only rampant cheaters, the Brooklyn Bridge just went on the market. Kent, where are you Kent?

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