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Monday, February 23, 2015

A Few More of These and Watch Things Change

Today, a Penn National trainer was sentenced to 3 months in the county jail, 3 months in a work release program, 4 1/2 years probation, and a $5,000 fine for administering performance enhancing drugs to horses in his stable.

Needless to say, David Wells career as a trainer is over as he now board, transports, and rescues horses according to the news story linked to above.  The days of easy money are over for him.

The prosecutor called for jail time, claiming Wells hurts the integrity of the sport.  Wells asked for probation claiming everyone is cheating and he was forced to do it to keep up with the others.  As is usually the case, the truth is somewhere in between the two statements; sadly it's probably closer to Wells' position than we would like to think.  Of course, trying to keep up with the cheats is not the way to do things; a trainer can show some courage and go to the racing commission or prosecutor''s office with this information.

One can't hope but to wish a few more trainers are taken down at different tracks; the cheats may have to think twice about their actions when considering the benefit/risk ratio.  Of course, getting the evidence required isn't as easy as a trainer getting nailed for the trainer's responsibility rule for that rule doesn't mean a trainer administered the banned substance or substance over limit; it just says a trainer should have control over a horse at all time.  It takes a commitment by the racing commission and prosecutor to do the work necessary to bring down a trainer who truly deserves to be nailed.

I know prosecutors have higher priorities but it will only take a few perp walks to get the cheats to think twice.  That would be a good thing.

A decision has been made to re-open bidding for an apparent casino license in the Southern Tier of New York, instead of selecting the one remaining bidder from the first round of bidding, Tioga Downs.  Why re-open the bidding to new bids?  It is clear, it's all about money.  The State wants to see if it can lure one of the bigger casino companies to make a bid so they can invest more money in a project and pay higher fees than a casino at Tioga may pay.  Clearly, Jeff Gural is not pleased with having to go through the re-bidding process which will require a new fee to submit a bid.

Why do I bring this up?  It is not a "Poor Jeff" sentiment but a reminder to those living on slot fees that the state does what it wants to in the effort to find revenue wherever possible.  The states sold racing down the river when they brought in the lottery, and casinos outside of tracks (you can argue racinos have diminished the popularity of horse racing though they benefit from slots.  It won't be long before states de-couple slots from racing.  They will and continue to do what is expedient for them to raise funds because states love to spend money.

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