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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cote is a Home Run

It was announced yesterday that Brice Cote would be handling the Integrity investigations for Performance Enhancement Drugs and unscrupulous practices for the Gural tracks of Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs.  To say that Cote's selection for this post is a home run for the Gural tracks is no exaggeration.

Cote was a detective for the New Jersey State Police horse-racing squad which handled criminal investigations for the State regarding horse racing before the unit was a victim of budget cuts.  Cote was the lead investigator in the criminal trial of Eric Ledford and three others as Cote, a former harness driver, noted the unusual performance of horses moving into the Ledford barn which resulted in the initiation of an eighteen month investigation and subsequent convictions (via plea bargaining)

Unfortunately, Eric Ledford was able to get his NJRC penalty greatly reduced and was allowed to return to racing at the Meadowlands.  As a publicly operated track, management did not have the ability to exclude anyone; something now possible as the track is privately operated.  With Cote's experience and Gural's willingness to take advantage of the rules of exclusion, cheaters would be wise to think twice before trying their luck at this trio of racetracks.


Anonymous said...

Lots of talk lately by Canada's top trainer in 2012, (Mr. Rene Allard, trainer rating of .465), as wanting to race againt the best, and in the US.

Apparently racing at WEG is beneath him. So am wondering if Meadowlands will welcome him.

Anonymous said...

Changing topics, I notice that a lot of stakes that previously had eliminations are now limited to top money earners. The change seems unfair to the little guy who might want to pay into one of these races, but knows that he cannot afford to stake to enough earlier races for his horse to be eligible. It sounds like a way for folks at the top to shut out the little guy.

Also, for some folks there is a problem breeding to stallions in states that require that the mare be physically in that state for a period of time. Sure, that helps the farm that houses the stallion. But it hurts breeders who are trying to make a living, but have a farm in another state. How can a breeder pay for his farm, horses and workers -- and then have to ship his mares off to another state? What is the point in even having a farm if you can't keep your mares there? What does a KY breeder do when he wants to breed to a NY stallion -- the answer is most likely that he will have to avoid breeding to any stallion in NY.

Those are just a couple of things that you might want to think about.

Pacingguy said...

Sires stakes programs make their own rules. One must remember the purpose of sires stakes races was always to promote breeding and horse production in state. With shipping of semen, all states but New York has eliminated the need to ship a horse to the state, but for whatever reason, New York has refused to change their conditions, likely because breeders want the additional revenue of having the broodmare in state for a certain period of time.

I have talked about elimination races before and I have been one to support restricting races to the top money earners. True, the little guy may get shut out, but the current system of eliminations and the perception that horses are waiting till the final to perform their best (just qualify in the elimination) has been a problematic for the sport. Which is the best way to level the playing field and maintain the perception of integrity alludes the industry.

Pacingguy said...

Rene Allard is already racing at the Meadowlands with 3 wins out of 36 starts thus far (8% win rate).