Trainer Martin Pleads Guilty in Connection With Gambling Ring

Seven of the 17 men indicted in January 2005 for their roles in a multi-million dollar illegal gambling ring have pleaded guilty, including trainer Gregory Martin, who admitted in federal court March 22 that he affected the outcome of a race by illegally administering a baking soda, sugar, and water mix (commonly known as a milkshake) to the horse A One Rocket just prior to his 10-length victory in a Dec. 18, 2003, race at Aqueduct.

Martin, son of Hall of Fame trainer Frank "Pancho" Martin, faces up to five years in prison, an additional three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for June 29.

The 88-count indictment, issued by the United States attorney in the Southern District of New York, alleged, among other things, the gambling ring bet $200 million through off-shore and Native American rebate betting operations in violation of the Travel Act and Wire Act. Three of the men have alleged ties to the Gambino organized crime family.

During his appearance before District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, Martin said he received a call from someone asking him to milkshake a horse, knowing that the practice was illegal and that the caller was a "professional gambler" -- David "Pebbles" Appelbaum, who also is named in the indictment.

"It's supposed to be the horse doesn't get tired," Martin said, after being asked by prosecutors why he administered a milkshake. "That is basically the whole theory of it. It's not like -- it's definitely not a drug because you are using baking soda. You are not using any so-called drugs but it's supposed to...break down the lactic acid."

The others to plead guilty in the case are Jonathan Broome, Paul Cuzzo, Jeffrey Gruber, Richard Hart, Anthony Uvari, and Cesare Uvari. Wheelchair-bound Marvin Meyerowitz, alleged to be one of the ringleaders of the gambling scheme, died in an apartment fire in New Jersey in May 2005.