State regulators in New York revoked the license to work in the racing industry of a former head clocker at the New York Racing Association for his role in an alleged conspiracy involving electronic trespassing of internal NYRA records.
Stephen Foster had his license revoked for at least 10 years and will be required to pay a $1,000 fine for allegedly giving access to NYRA's InCompass computer system to two jockey agents. The database included information such as Thoroughbred workout details and advance word on horses entered in races.
The punishment issued Sept. 25 by the full New York State Gaming Commission board is considerably stricter than the one a commission hearing officer recommended for Foster. The hearing officer earlier this summer gave him just a six-month suspension and $1,000 fine because, according to officials at Monday's board meeting, the agency's investigators had adequately proven only one of six charges against Foster.
But the commission's board, without comment, slapped Foster with a full revocation order, leaving him unable to re-apply to the industry in New York for at least 10 years.
In January the board acted similarly in the adjudication of the case against jockey agent Mike Gonzalez. Arrested in 2016 for his role in the computer trespass matter, Gonzalez was originally hit by a gaming commission hearing officer with a three-year suspension and $25,000 fine. In January, however, the full commission's board imposed a stricter penalty of a 10-year minimum license revocation along with the $25,000 fine.
The case involved allegations against Foster and Gonzalez, as well as jockey agent Jose A. Morales Jr., over access to non-public information from NYRA's computer system. Last year, prosecutors said Gonzalez, in return for $100 monthly payments to Foster, accessed the computerized records at least 170 times over a 15-month period. Foster was fired by NYRA in mid-June 2015, shortly after he and the two jockey agents were escorted off NYRA grounds and banned from the association's three tracks.
Morales was scheduled to go before a hearing officer last June; officials on Monday said the case against him is still pending.
In a separate case, the commission suspended the license of Thoroughbred trainer James H. Iselin for 30 days. He also was given a $1,500 fine for a positive drug test that found methocarbamol and guaifenesin in a sample take from Rahy's Bandit, who finished first in the fourth race at Belmont Park on June 12, 2016. The ruling also disqualified the award of any purses to the horse's owner from that race.
The commission also gave preliminary approval to change the time period between when electro-medical treatments, such as diathermy, are administered and a horse's next start. They were allowed 24 hours before the start of a race program, but the change would allow the treatment to be administered up to 24 hours before the post time of a treated horse's race.
The change has been sought for years by the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. Dr. Scott Palmer, the state's equine medical director told the commission that electro-medical treatments will, under the new rule, be aligned with the time period for administering allowable medications to horses prior to a race. Palmer said there are relatively few people who administer the treatments and so the existing time restriction was especially problematic during stakes race days when some race programs begin in the late morning.