In another development in the ejection of Thoroughbred owner Michael Gill from Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, horsemen on the grounds are said to be purchasing Gill’s horses even though they’ve been labeled a safety risk.
Gill, who earlier announced he would sell his stock and leave the business, was ejected from Penn National Feb. 2 upon order of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission. The regulatory agency said Gill and his trainer, Anthony Adamo, were disrupting the regular course of the track’s race meet.
Most jockeys at Penn National refused to ride Gill-owned horses, though jockeys at Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack, the other track open in Pennsylvania, continue to ride his stock with no word of a boycott.
Gill and Adamo retain their state racing licenses.
Gill, last year’s leading Thoroughbred owner by wins and earnings, has 49 stalls at Penn National and is clearing out his stock, saying he is a target and can’t get a fair shake.
Gill said Feb. 4 “the people screaming the loudest” about the condition of his horses have made offers for them, apparently with intentions to continue racing them. He also claimed an individual on the backstretch then went to those horsemen and told them not to buy Gill’s horses because of how it would look.
“These are unfair business practices,” Gill said.
Gill earlier told Daily Racing Form he was considering a lawsuit over the situation that led to his ejection.
A horsemen’s representative couldn’t be immediately reached Feb. 4 to comment on the alleged developments. Penn National-based horsemen haven't publicly criticized Gill, though a few have made derogatory comments in online chat rooms or in response to blogs.
The PHRC, in its ejection notice, leveled no safety-related charges against Gill, though it has said its investigation hasn’t been completed.
Meanwhile, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has entered the controversy. PETA, in a Feb. 4 letter, asked the Pennsylvania Board of Veterinary Medicine to investigate veterinarians at Penn National and at Gill's training center in Oxford, Pa. PETA is targeting the reported breakdowns at Penn National.