I just know his [Lou Pena's] horses look really good, and they race for a long time. They're throwing this guy to the wolves when the primary objective in this game is to win races. Obviously, someone is out to get him.
Let's address the 'Freedom of Speech' issue first. The first amendment of the constitution deals with government not doing anything to quash free speech, there is nothing in the constitution which says a private organization can't. Regardless, Freedom of Speech is a two-way street, While you get the right to speak your mind, you also need to be willing to taking the consequences for what you say.
Gural has his reasons for telling Brennan the 'No Vacancy' sign is up at the Meadowlands. No doubt Brennan didn't help his case by making these comments having abandoned the Meadowlands for Yonkers (Brennan had only twenty-two drives this year at the Big M). It is safe to assume if someone like Andy Miller (just picking a name) made these comments, Miller would still be driving at the Meadowlands (perhaps after a sit down).
To be perfectly honest, my first reaction was 'WTF? He banished Brennan over this?" But as I was writing this column it became apparent to me it was not as simple as that. Here are a few questions which came to me.
- "They're throwing this guy to the wolves when the primary objective in this game is to win races". Strike the first part of that sentence and what you have is "
They're throwing this guy to the wolves whenthe primary objective in this game is to win races". Hopefully, no one is thinking doing whatever it takes to win a race including cheating is acceptable?
- It's no secret that George Brennan is the the face for Team Pena over at Yonkers. Even though no one has made any allegations against Brennan, is it a case of "You are Judged by the Company you Keep'?
- If it is a problem of being associated with Pena, do we expect drivers to give up live drives from trainers under suspicion of cheating? After all, isn't someone else going to just drive the horse? Is this realistic?
Suddenly, while not fully convinced, I am beginning to see why the welcome mat has been pulled in for Brennan. I am not sure I agree with it, but it gives me reason to pause and think about it.
Harnesslink questions if Jeff Gural can refuse to let Brennan drive at the Meadowlands. The brief answer is 'yes'. It has happened at plenty of tracks where a driver has been asked to take their services elsewhere, though typically not for comments they may make. The bottom line is as a privately operated facility, management has the right to exclude someone from their facility, be they an owner, trainer, driver, and even gambler.