Editor’s Note: The following is a statement from Hambletonian Society, Inc. President John Campbell. The views contained in this statement are that of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of the United States Trotting Association.
Cranbury, NJ — On behalf of the Hambletonian Society I would like to applaud the efforts of the FBI and all of the law enforcement agencies that were involved in the historic horse racing investigation and subsequent arrests.
I would also like to commend Jeff Gural, the Jockey Club, and all the entities and individuals who were responsible for the initial investigation that led to the FBI getting involved.
Some of the intercepted conversations that have been released are beyond appalling and one can only hope that the people found responsible for these statements and actions will be dealt with severely and no longer be allowed to participate in our industry or have any interaction with horses.
The pain from the gaping wound this has caused to the horse racing industry will continue for some time. However with the regulatory and industry changes that will be accelerated by these events, we will emerge greatly strengthened.
There must be changes, as it is clearly evident that the current regulatory and enforcement systems that are supposed to insure fair play and a level playing field are not enough.
I am not going to speculate or suggest what those changes will or should be, but every organization and aspect of horse racing must come together to support a future that strengthens the integrity of racing and seeks a level playing field for all participants.
This is imperative. Egos and agendas must be put aside.
From this moment forward the horse racing industry has an opportunity to showcase a product in which the people who watch, wager on, and participate in, can have confidence.
I can say, and many more people will attest, that the majority of those who work with and tend to horses are hard-working, love their horses and treat them with the utmost care and respect.
Upon hearing of this investigation, the happiest group of people were the incalculable number of trainers and horse people who try to do things the proper way and conduct their business inside both legal and ethical guidelines. These people have renewed optimism and excitement that they will be able to compete and have success on the track.
They cannot be defined by the small minority of wrongdoers.