A company that for years has been trying different ways to break into the racing industry has now set its sights on an obscure former Quarter Horse racetrack in upstate New York.
Permission has been granted for the first time ever in New York for an off-track betting corporation to run a racetrack. After years of battling industry opposition and eventually paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to make the critics go away, Western Regional Off Track Betting Corp. was given approval by state regulators Feb. 27 to reopen Batavia Downs.
Officials with the American Association of Equine Practitioners acknowledge that their "Racehorse Medication Summit" planned for Dec. 4 appears to have moved some organizations to action. But they admit the complex issue of medication and drug-testing can't be addressed in one day.
The longest-serving member of New York's racing regulatory agency is stepping down, sources in state government say. Joseph Neglia, first appointed to the New York State Racing and Wagering Board in 1984, is retiring from his post.
The state's Racing and Wagering Board is moving to end entries being coupled as common betting interests in the biggest New York races, including the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and the Breeders' Cup.
Trainer Nick Zito had his license suspended for 15 days and was fined $2,000 by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board Thursday for a positive test for the analgesic Lidocaine at Saratoga in August of 2000.
Following the lead of other states, New York racing officials have formed an advisory panel to bolster efforts to track new developments in legal and illegal drugs used in the thoroughbred industry. "There's no agenda going into this,'' said Racing and Wagering Board chairman Michael Hoblock, who announced the creation of the Medication Advisory Committee Thursday. He said the idea of such a panel came out of meetings over the past several years the racing board has held with the New York Racing Association's organization of horsemen.
New York racing regulators on Monday slapped trainer John Dowd with a 120-day suspension after three Thoroughbreds he ran during races in 1999 and 2000 at Aqueduct tested positive for ergonovine. In another disciplinary matter, Thoroughbred owner Robert Perez was fined $3,000 following what officials described as a nasty confrontation with stewards last year at Saratoga in an incident the board said was "detrimental to the best interests of racing.''
Juan Serey, the leading trainer in New York in 2000, had his license suspended for 90 days and was fined $2,000 by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board Wednesday for two ergonovine positives in December 1999.
The New York harness track raised some eyebrows in December when it said its primary option in the event of an emergency was to "say the Rosary," but it recently submitted a proper evacuation planand was licensed for 2001.
Bennett Liebman, who served on the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for 12 years, has accepted a job as counsel to the House racing committee chairman in New York.
New York regulators, in a bit of a twist, suspended a jockey for 15 days for not using his whip in the stretch. In the past, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board has pushed hard to crack down on jockeys who go to the whip too often and too hard. In this case, the board said jockey John Davila failed to "use his best efforts" on Who'srunningtheshow in a July 28 race at Finger Lakes.
Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said he turned in his license to the New York State Racing and Wagering Board because he had tested positive for marijuana.
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