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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Drug Allegations Shock Industry; Hold the Horses

The entire harness racing has been shocked by a report in Harnesslink which alleges leading trainers Ron Burke and Julie Miller with having had horses testing positive for the drug Glaucine.  Making these allegations more interesting is these are Meadowlands-based trainers who train or have trained horses for Jeff Gural and especially in the case of Burke, a large supplier of horses which fill the entry box.

Weekend Preview goes into further detail with a statement from Howard Taylor Esq., who is representing trainers who received positives.  In Taylor's statement, he claims the trainers are cooperating with the NYGC.  Depending on the results of the investigation, we may have a major drug scandal, or much ado about nothing.  Time will tell.  The best thing everyone can do is hold the horses, admittedly with baited breath.

If the positives turn out to be valid, the question many have been asking is "What will Jeff do?"  Many critics of Jeff Gural are expecting him to find an excuse to let these trainers continue to race at his tracks.  However, from his statement today it is clear he will allow due process play out until the NYGC issues a ruling and contamination is ruled out.  In addition, he wants to see if the lab in Hong Kong can test for the medication from prior out of competition samples from the named trainers and on horses owned by him.  It becomes evident if the charges hold water, the critics will be disappointed to find out the prematurely named trainers will indeed be on the outside looking in despite the harm it will cause the Meadowlands when they struggle for entries.  For despite the embarrassment this would cause Gural, he is probably the most prominent person in all of racing to take on an anti-drugging stance.

Only in harness racing do we find someone who is trying to improve the sport, albeit at times in controversial manners, the subject of such gleeful speculation by his detractors, hoping to find him a hypocrite and twisting in the wind.  Such divisions only hurt the sport.

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