Owner Daniel Borislow responded to a probe by the racing commissions in New Jersey and New York concerning the whereabouts of Wild Desert before his win in the June 26 Queen's Plate at Woodbine.
The 3-year-old son of Wild Rush showed only two published works between his unplaced finish in the April 16 Arkansas Derby (gr. II) and the Queen's Plate. The lack of published works had sparked an investigation.
Borislow said he only saw the horse two times prior to the Queen's Plate -- at Oaklawn Park and at Woodbine. Upon hearing about the current inquiry by Monmouth Park officials regarding the horse's whereabouts, he attempted to put the pieces of the puzzle together himself in an effort to find out where the horse actually was.
"This was born from a dispute with high-ranking NYRA officials five or six years ago that I believe resulted in mistreatment regarding stabling privileges in New York," Borislow said. "This problem lasted until recently when the last remaining official involved was let go.
"From what I recently learned from my own inquiries is that a NYRA official informed Rick Dutrow that Wild Desert was not permitted to stable or train in New York. I was then told the horse was sent to a farm before being shipped to Monmouth Park, where Dutrow has a string of horses, for a workout. I was also informed that when the horse was put under the official care of Dutrow's New York assistant Juan Rodriguez during Dutrow's 60-day suspension he began working regularly at Aqueduct leading up to the Queen's Plate."
Borislow said he was unaware if Rodriguez was told by Dutrow or NYRA not to stable and train the horse at Aqueduct.
"I hope my relationship with NYRA will be better now that NYRA chairman) Charles Hayward is taking the necessary steps of cleaning house," Borislow said.
There also was the controversy that unfolded regarding Borislow's $100,000 in winnings from wagers made on Wild Desert. Borislow, who is one of country's biggest high rollers at the windows, said, "It never entered my mind that there might be an issue betting this horse. I knew nothing more than anyone else. I just knew he was a talented horse, he had Pat Valenzuela up, and my trainer told me he was doing great.
"I paid $1 million for this horse because I knew he could win the Queen's Plate. My confidence in the horse's ability was reaffirmed when some of Dutrow's longtime clients bought part-interest in him before the Plate, which put his value at $3 million.
"The exercise rider and trainer said in various publications that the horse was working regularly for eight weeks. That was reported in the Daily Racing Form
the day of the race. I was quoted before the race saying that if the horse didn't win I'd be very disappointed.
"Because no horse had won the Queen's Plate off a 10-week layoff is the only reason this story saw the light of day. Many professional handicappers thought the same way as I did, and the public bet him down to 3-1. Everyone thought it was my bet that knocked his price down, but I only bet $3,000 on him to win. The rest of the winnings were from the exotics. It didn't take a genius to figure out this horse was live. This certainly was not near my biggest bet, and why would I come out after the race and tell the media how much I won if there were any improprieties?"
Borislow also insisted that Bobby Frankel, who was the trainer of record, had no knowledge of anything that transpired with Wild Desert prior to the Queen's Plate. "Bobby didn't get the horse until a few days before the race at Woodbine, and he knew nothing at all about the horse. He just put the saddle on him," Borislow said.