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Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Corey Johnson Affair

As many of you know, trainer Corey Johnson was suspended indefinitely by the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) and his horses were ordered scratched this past Monday and Thursday at Woodbine. was pondering whether or not New Jersey would order his horses Volez Hanover and Traceur Hanover out of Saturday night's Breeders Crown finals since New Jersey typically reciprocates on rulings by the ORC.

Over at some message boards, there were people taking shots at Jeff Gural for not ordering Johnson's horses scratched out of the crown.  Hypocritical was perhaps the kindest thing being said by those critics regarding the two horses being allowed to race (it should be noted nothing indicated these two horses were involved in the TCO2 violations).

Well, perhaps the reason Gural didn't order the horses scratched is because he couldn't.  In an interview with it is learned that as a result of a suit in 2011by the connections of Crys Dream, the NJRC is unable to suspend Johnson until he is offered due process in the form of a hearing in Ontario.  Only after a hearing is held and Ontario reaffirms their ruling can New Jersey suspend the trainer.  In the meanwhile, even if Jeff Gural wanted to use his powers of exclusion to ban Johnson, once the entries were accepted the horses must be allowed to race as the NJRC or its judges are the only ones who could scratch them; an exclusion only impacts future entries.

Even Jeff Gural obeys the rule of law.  Nothing he has ever done suggests he has disregarded the rule of law.

That being said, should Traceur Hanover or Volez Hanover win their races, the winner's circle presentation should be kept to a minimum with no interview with the trainer in the winner's circle.  If the NJRC wanted to send a message of protecting the interests of the horseplayer and the integrity of the wagering game, they would bar the two horses in wagering.  Of course, I don't see them doing it.

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