Grand Jury: Continue Probe at Penn National

Grand Jury: Continue Probe at Penn National
Photo: Wally Skalij
Michael Gill

A Dauphin County, Pa., grand jury has recommended continued investigation of two trainers and adoption of regulations to allow for monitoring of training centers in connection with a lengthy probe into activities at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.

The investigating grand jury issued its findings in late July. It began its work last year after the well-publicized case involving Thoroughbred owner Michael Gill and the performance of his horses at Penn National.

The grand jury issued three findings: The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission should investigate whether trainers Anthony Adamo and Stephanie Beattie should retain their licenses; that training centers in the state fall under the regulation of the PHRC; and that the PHRC and Penn National management adopt a policy whereby no one in the racing office can accept gifts from those granted stalls.

Adamo, who trained for Gill, has been involved in various lawsuits in Pennsylvania for more than a year. A recent court ruling upheld his contention he was improperly suspended in connection with the PHRC investigation into Gill’s operation.

Beattie, the leading trainer at Penn National, was under scrutiny by the grand jury after various people testified and the investigation expanded beyond Gill and Adamo. According to the grand jury report, David Wells, another trainer with whom she worked and had a relationship, claimed Beattie regularly used a form of shock-wave therapy on horses.

The grand jury called it an “illicit method of enhancing racehorse performance.”

The grand jury report also noted how horsemen regularly gave gifts to officials in the Penn National racing office, particularly around the holidays. The issue came to light after accusations last year that racing secretary Paul Jenkins—who retired earlier this year—and others were selling stalls.

The grand jury took no action in that regard but did say there was a “clear appearance of impropriety” at Penn National.

The report also contains statements from Gill employees who claimed horses in the stable were administered “milkshakes,” or TCO2, which can enhance performance on the racetrack.

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