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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Observations on the Crys Dream Mess

Everytime I read a story about the latest legal battle regarding Crys Dream, I shake my head.  Based on the lastes article from Harness Racing Update, which indicates the ownership team has exercised their right to go to court, I have come up with the following observations.

What is going on with the Crys Dream situation is certainly regrettable.  It must be nice to have deep pockets to keep running to the courts.  Instead of going after the NJRC, I would suggest ownesrhip deals with the ORC and try to get the situation addressed as quickly as possible.  If they feel the need to go to court, that is where they should be going to, not New Jersey,  as the root of their problems stem from the ORC’s decision to suspend the horse for 90 days.

It should be noted that I am a layman when it comes to the law.  As for the current issue regarding the purse money from the Hambletonian Oaks, my suggestion would be to put the purse money in an escrow account controlled by the courts until either the ORC finds for Crys Dream’s ownership or the original lawsuit against the NJRC has had its day in court (remember, they only had a stay issued to allow them to race in New Jersey and it was not a ruling on the merits of the case.  How is the ownership suffering from having the funds put into abeyance; the USTA can credit the earnings to the horse and can remove the earnings if the NJ courts eventually rule against the ownership?

I also don’t see why it is up to Frank Zanzuccki and the NJRC to clear Crys Dream’s ability to race in any other state.  The ruling was to allow the horse to race in New Jersey and nothing more.  If they seek to race in other states, they need to make their case to those states’ commissions or attempt to expedite the process in Ontario.  If anything, Mr. Zanzuccki likely will report is the facts; the NJ Supreme Court issued a stay which required them to allow Crys Dream to race.  Why no legal expert, I believe a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling only has enforcement power in New Jersey, it does not have any legal standing in another state.

The Crys Dream team has the right to go to court, but I am troubled by their arguments they made in New Jersey.  I have no problem with their argument of lack of due process, but I have a real problem with their argument that the NJRC is not allowed to enforce a suspension from a foreign (Canada) country.   If the courts find for the plaintiffs (fortunately, it would only apply to New Jersey unless a federal court got involved), drivers and owners suspended or with revoked licenses could race in New Jersey and anyone banned from New Jersey could just head to Canada and continue with their career).

If as Crys Dream’s ownership indicates, the positive was truly an environmental contamination, I feel sorry for the ownership team.  They will have their chance to make their arguments in Ontario on that.  I don’t doubt their word, but what if it turns out the positive was not environmental?  My suggestion would be for the Ontario Racing Commission to modify their ninety day suspension rule so if a person is contesting the charges, the horse would be allowed to race during this ninety day period with all purse winnings being held in escrow until the case is finally resolved.  If the case is found for the ownership team, the purse money would be released to the ownership team.  If the case is ultimately decided against the ownership team, the purse funds would be redistributed.  This way, the rights of all are protected.


Anonymous said...

Hey Pacingguy,

What a mess! Her connections should have waited to race (my opinion) and if the ORC was found to be negligent-an average of "possible winnings" should be given to her connections. It's similar to when they convict the wrong guy and place him in jail for 10 years-then give him retribution for life lost?

My question is, "Wouldn't the ORC know right off the bat if it was an environmental contaminate?" Was it confirmed to be Pristiq found in her system? Why does it take so long to determine the outcome of the case? The only thing that keeps ringing in my head is that her connections KNEW she was good, they KNEW she would win, so WHY would they even "tempt the dragon", KNOWING she would be tested? But for now, I like your idea of holding everything in a trust account (or escrow) until the dust settles.

Sorry for all the questions but I love Crys Dream ever since Pull The Pocket introduced me to her a while back. This is becoming more of a Dick Francis novel by the minute!


Pacingguy said...

Don't get me wrong, I understand her connection's desire to get her back on the track. My main problem is their challenge of reciprocity between Canadian and American racing commissions.

A racing commission would not pay an average earnings to a suspended horse if they are wrong; where would they get the money from?

The concept of environmental contamination is a relative new one for racing; many states/provinces have zero tolerance for certain drugs.

I am not sure of the brand name for the drug in question, sometimes the same drug goes under different names in different countries, but my understanding is it was a Class 2 medication; more specifically an anti-depressent.

It should be stated, that the ownership group has steadfastly denied treating the horse with this medication. Yes, in the United States, they have found water contaminated with prescription drugs, but they up to now have been negligible concentrations. Could the Grand River, as they say been contaminated with this drug? I imagine so. To a level where it would show up in a horse? I'm not sure.