May 2015 Issue - page 1

Vol. 22 No. 5
Our 22nd Year
May 2015
LANC., PA 17604
by Suzanne Bush
Horse racing is as much
mystique as it is luck. For cen-
turies the sight of these breath-
taking athletes racing across
fields or around tracks has struck
primal, respondent chords in
the hearts and imaginations of
humans. The speed and grace,
coupled with the innocent power
of horses, are at the heart of the
But once the concept of
racing became an industry, some-
thing in the equation changed.
Horses are still brilliant, spectac-
ular athletes. But the people who
train them to race, or who own
them or who believe that there
actually could be a “sure thing”
are frequently not motivated by
the sheer joy of watching horses
run. They want nothing less than
winning performances. Every
single time. And that, some think,
requires something more than a
horse and a rider.
Thus opens another chapter
in the sad story of Penn National
Race Course in Grantville. For
several years, this facility has
been at the center of one scandal
after another. In 2010 jockeys at
Penn National staged a “strike”
in which they refused to ride any
horses fielded by Michael Gill,
citing numerous breakdowns of
Gill-owned horses. The jockeys
feared for their safety and were
horrified by the number of Gill’s
horses that had suffered cata-
strophic injuries. Despite being
an Eclipse Award winner, Gill
NEW FEATURE: Tack, Harness
& Equipment … pgs. 16-24
And…Going Green & Natural …
pgs. 25-28
Brandywine Hills & Cheshire Hunt Point to Point
coverage …. pgs. 7 & 35
Afleet Alex’s offspring are now tearing up the
track … pg. 4
The Atlantic Reined Cow Horse Association turns
ten …. pg, 8
... and much more!
Penn National Race
Course Veterinarians
Arrested Following
FBI Investigation
was ultimately forced to leave
Penn National Race Course.
In 2011 a Dauphin County
Grand Jury reviewed evidence
of trainers doping horses at Penn
National. In the aftermath of that
investigation, numerous reforms
were recommended to reduce the
potential for corruption of the
sport. In 2013 three trainers at
Penn National and one clocker
were arrested for cheating. The
trainers were charged with dop-
ing horses and the clocker was
charged with submitting false
workout times for horses at the
track. Trainer David Wells was
sentenced in February to three
months in Dauphin County pris-
on followed by a 3-month stay in
the county work-release center
and 4 1/2 years on probation.
In November, a federal judge
sentenced Danny L. Robertson of
Hershey, a former Penn National
clocker, to a year’s probation for
posting false workout times after
he pled guilty to a federal wire
fraud charge. Trainer Patricia
A. Rogers of Hummelstown,
is awaiting trial in U.S. Middle
District Court. Like Wells, trainer
Samuel Webb of Jonestown had
his case transferred from feder-
al to county court, where he is
awaiting trial.
Most recently, in March 2015
four veterinarians at Penn Nation-
al Race Course were arrested after
an undercover FBI investigation.
Dr. Kevin Brophy of Florida, Dr.
Fernando Motta of Lancaster,
PA, Dr. Christopher Korte of
Colorado and Dr. Renee Nodine
of Annville, PA were charged in
separate complaints.
The veterinarians were each
charged with “allegedly adminis-
tering drugs to thoroughbred race
horses within 24 hours of when
the horse was entered to race,”
according to a press release from
the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the
Middle District of Pennsylvania.
Their actions directly conflict
with the state’s criminal code that
prohibits “rigging of publicly
exhibited contests.”
The investigation concluded
that the veterinarians’ actions
were part of a longstanding
effort to circumvent the state’s
laws regarding pre-race proto-
cols. The veterinarians allegedly
back-dated prescriptions request-
ed by trainers in order to evade
detection. The trainers subse-
quently submitted false informa-
tion to the Racing Commission
about the dates when their horses
received veterinary treatments.
The Pennsylvania State Horse
Racing Commission, the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration’s
Office of Criminal Investiga-
tions and the Pennsylvania State
Police are also investigating the
(Continued on page 11)
Devon Horse Show, May 21
- 31
See page 12 for more on the Devon Horse Show!
New for the 119th Devon Horse Show: The Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon, honoring McLain Ward’s
late, great Olympic partner, and a comfy, convenient place with all the amenities, indoor and out, to
watch the action in the Dixon Oval and the Gold Ring. Returning as always: The sport’s top hunters,
jumpers, Saddlebreds, Hackney ponies and horses, coaching and much more…plus tea sandwiches,
fudge and mint iced tea.
Photo credit:
Kenneth Kraus/PhelpsSports
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