When I opened the March issue of Hoof Beats I saw a letter from the Director’s Chair from Mr. [Joe] Faraldo, the Chairman of the Board. The sad part is there is almost nothing in his memo that is truthful. The sole goal of the USTA led by Faraldo is to ensure that the status quo remains so that those members who want to use drugs can continue and those members who don’t can just suck it up and race against them.
What is most troubling is that Faraldo, who obviously does not like me much, criticized the position I have taken repeatedly that had the USTA given me the changes they wanted in the [Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority] legislation, I am fairly certain I could have accomplished that goal. Other than one conference call I had with [USTA president] Russell [Williams] and the USTA lobbyists who seemed to agree with my position, the USTA did not reach out to ask for my help. At the last minute, they did ask for my help in making sure that the change in the law that was required to make [HISA] constitutional would not happen and would I use my influence to kill it.
After reading the latest opinion from the Sixth District affirming that, with that change, it is now constitutional, I can understand why they wanted me to kill it, as had I done so the Sixth Circuit would have affirmed the Fifth Circuit in declaring the law unconstitutional.
You have a choice; you can believe Joe who was in charge of the Horsemen’s Association at Yonkers when the two leading trainers Rene Allard and [Faraldo’s] personal trainer Richard Banca were arrested and now, fortunately, have been convicted, or you can believe me.
When I took over The Meadowlands the first thing I did was hire Brice [Cote] to do out-of-competition testing and used the Hong Kong lab and eventually hired 5 Stones where we worked with the FBI and the US Attorney to put 29 horsemen or veterinarians in prison. I think the comparison is quite dramatic and if you really believe that Joe wants to do away with drugs I have a bridge to sell you. We are headed down the wrong path and putting the subsidies we are receiving at risk. Once the public finds out about the use of drugs in harness racing and the opposition to clean it up from the USTA we could easily lose those subsidies.
Jeff Gural / owner The Meadowlands,
Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs