Mark J. Gerard, a New York veterinarian who executed one of racing’s most famous fixes, died June 21 in Miami, according to the New York Times. He was 76.
The cause was complications of a stroke, his sister, Joyce Aimee Titchnell, told the Times.
A highly respected veterinarian whose equine clientele included Secretariat and Riva Ridge, Gerard imported two horses from Uruguay of unequal talent in June 1977: champion Cinzano and a low-level performer, Lebon, who had broken down in his last race. That September at Belmont Park, Lebon was entered in a $10,000 claiming race on the turf. Instead of Lebon starting, Cinzano, a ringer, was the one who ran in the race. Cinzano won handily and paid $116 to win. Gerard cashed tickets worth about $80,000.
Unfortunately for Gerard, two Uruguayan fans were at Belmont that day. Uruguayan officials were notified, and Gerard was apprehended.
Represented in court by famed attorney F. Lee Bailey, Gerard was found not guilty of serious charges but guilty of “fraudulent entries and practices in contests of speed,” a misdemeanor.
Gerard was sentenced to a year in prison and fined $1,000. The sentence was reduced on appeal, and Gerard served a lesser sentence.
Gerard is survived by his wife, Alice.