|Tuesday, October 17, 2017||Contact: Shannon Luce (859) 224-2716|
|Letter from Stuart S. Janney III to Russell C. Redding|
October 17, 2017
Mr. Russell C. Redding
The Jockey Club, a not-for-profit organization in operation since 1894, has long pursued its mission as an organization dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing. As such it has long taken an active role in working toward the betterment of the racing industry. Considering this, one can clearly understand The Jockey Club’s interest in matters affecting the safety and integrity of racing in Pennsylvania.
As for my remarks at the Round Table Conference in Saratoga Springs in August, I stand by them and I deny that I spread misinformation. Further, contrary to your contention otherwise, I did not confuse the actions of the SHRC with those of the veterinarians and horsemen involved in the Murray Rojas matter.
Please consider the following:
That any trainer might testify as Beattie did is alarming. However, it becomes downright incendiary when the person testifying about such pervasive cheating was both the president of Pennsylvania’s Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association and the second in command (first regional vice president) of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association at the time in question.
The above referenced testimony — that 95% to 98% of trainers were cheating on a daily basis, that Ms. Beattie and Dr. Motta were both able to impermissibly drug horses on race days a “thousand times,” that PETRL did not have tests for numerous regulated drugs, that they were regularly not testing for all regulated drugs, and that they were deliberately diluting and corrupting certain testing samples — provides ample evidence in support of my conclusions that there were “regulators asleep on the job” and that there was a “corrupted and ineffectual testing system.”
I still do not understand how Ms. Beattie was somehow able to maintain her Pennsylvania trainer’s license despite her “thousands” of violations. Thankfully, her license is currently suspended, not as a result of all of those violations but, rather, for having a court judgment against her for failing to pay race-related expenses to Neil’s Turf Supply. [SHRC Ruling No. 17237PN.]
In your letter, you also challenged my reference to the actions and inactions of Tom Chuckas, Pennsylvania’s current director of Thoroughbred Racing, by stating that I was “implying some connection between [him] . . . and conduct which took place years previously.”
I did no such thing, and so, in this instance, it is you who is spreading “misinformation.”
I called out Mr. Chuckas for failing to explain to the public about how the pervasive cheating testified to at the Rojas trial got past the SHRC. From my perspective, the current head of the organization in question should be the person to speak to the public regarding such important matters.
Additionally, for the record, there was no official public response from the SHRC to the outcry resulting from the SHRC’s arbitrary decision to break all racing precedent and declare two winners for the 2016 Parx Oaks when there was no dead heat.
This decision will have lasting, negative downstream effects on virtually all facets of the horse racing industry. Bettors will likely not be sure who actually won a race when there are two “winners” but no dead heat. Stallion/mare owners may not be able to accurately access the quality and racing history of breeding stock related to the Parx Oaks “winners,” and buyers at horse sales years later will likely not know about how a foal’s parent achieved first place “black type” status without truly winning a race.
Likewise, the recent adoption of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium’s model rule for Multiple Medication Violation penalties is also heartening.
One area that could certainly use more focus by the SHRC is to more widely and transparently announce its current medication rules. Our staff has been reviewing Pennsylvania’s current medication use regulations and we have found them to be presented on a piecemeal and likely contradictory basis. Other states make their medication regulations publicly available in a centralized and up-to-date manner. We encourage Pennsylvania to do the same.
Taking a broader perspective, I also believe that there is much further to go in terms of ensuring the integrity of our nation’s races and protecting our racing athletes. We learned many disturbing things through the Rojas matter, and I believe that these are emblematic of the numerous shortcomings of the anti-doping programs in this nation’s many racing jurisdictions.
Recognizing the many problems with the current state-by-state anti-doping regulatory scheme, members of Congress recently introduced the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 (H.R. 2651). When enacted, it would provide the horse racing industry with a single set of uniform drug testing rules and enforcement protocols that would be brought into effect and managed by an independent, not-for-profit anti-doping organization created specifically for that task.
Until such time as H.R. 2651 becomes law, we are hopeful that, with your involvement, the SHRC will continue its recent activities toward implementing integrity-related initiatives and that they will be accomplished in a
manner that enhances the safety and welfare of horses and riders in accordance with the best practices the industry has to offer.