Gural on doping and more

I read what I assume was aneditorial in last Sunday’s HRU and you hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, the reality is that nobody cares as the vast majority of tracks are owned by casino owners and almost all of the purse money is generated by slot machines. As a result, doing anything to increase handle at a track with slot machines makes little or no sense.

I do agree that my dispute with Faraldo hurts the sport and a few years ago I was on a panel with Joe in Saratoga and I went up to him afterwards and asked him if he wanted to bury the hatchet for the good of the sport and he made it clear that he had no interest. At least you should know I tried.

As far as performance enhancing drugs, all one has to do is read the transcripts of the trial of Lisa Gianelli formerly Lisa Ranger and Seth Fishman and you would see exactly how bad it is. Lisa was a [salesperson] for Fishman selling both therapeutic and performance enhancing drugs and receiving a commission of 17 per cent of sales. It is illegal for anyone to be buying any drugs from a veterinarian who has not examined your horse before they prescribe the medication. She would visit the training centers every two weeks and drop off the medications that were ordered by her customers. Since she was getting a commission, it was in her best interest to encourage the sale of these medications and to the best of my knowledge no one called the USTA hotline to report this illegal activity.

So far, we have only been able to view the customers that Gianelli was selling to and have not been able to obtain the records of who was buying drugs directly from Fishman. I was told there are an additional 200 names on that list, but so far we have not been able to obtain the information.

I do actually agree with Faraldo on his complaint about handing out suspensions for positives triggered by nanogram levels of therapeutic medications designed to keep horses healthy. In Ohio, four trainers including Ake (Svanstedt) received positives for overages of DEX which everyone knew including the Commission were inaccurate. Rather than try to actually get to the truth they have done everything possible to avoid determining what actually happened and instead are relying on the results from their lab which they know are flawed. We even asked to have the urine tested and we would agree to whatever the results of the urine sample and they refused to test the urine since they knew it would show that the lab mishandled the four samples. One good thing about HISA is they seem to be reasonable when it comes to this issue and are willing to listen and adjust their own rules and correct mistakes unlike state regulators.

Your comments about why we don’t reduce the length of drag is totally correct and makes no sense except for the fact that we would all have to agree together, and no one is willing to do that. A few years ago, we reached out to the other major tracks to ask if they would be willing to experiment and reduce the drag, and other than ourselves no one had any interest. If you would like to reach out to the track owners and see if they would be interested, that would be much appreciated as we are absolutely ready and willing to reduce the drag as it makes it almost impossible to make the experience of coming to the races as enjoyable as it once was.

Thanks for at least trying but the USTA is a democratic members organization, and they seem happy with the leadership in place.

Jeff Gural / owner The Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs

Bearing rein, not Bering

Please advise Trey Nosrac that the spelling of side or check reins as used in the Sewell book is “bearing rein,” and not “Bering” rein, as it appears inthe article. Perhaps autocorrect decided he was referring to the sea between Alaska and Russia, but the correct spelling, (as can be seen in the book,) is “bearing.”

Yours sincerely,

Robin Schmidt / retired professional proof reader