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Despite Guilty Pleas, Investigations Continue at Penn National
by Suzanne Bush - February 2015
It wasn’t exactly déjà vu all over again. But recent events at Penn National Race Course at Hollywood Casino did not demonstrate a lot of positive momentum from the troubles that have dogged the race track for the past several years. The drama was certainly not the intention of anyone in management at Penn National; and most of the trainers, jockeys, horse owners and track employees are not thrilled with the headlines. But there they are, nonetheless. And they come at a time when Pennsylvania’s horse-racing industry is facing new competition and new regulatory attention.
Recent history proved to be a dispiriting prologue. A 2011 Dauphin County Grand Jury reviewed evidence gathered during an investigation by the Pennsylvania Racing Commission. Reportedly, trainers were injecting horses with mixtures of Red Bull and steroids—clear violations of rules governing racing. One trainer was also injecting horses with snake venom and using concoctions called “milk shakes” in efforts to improve horses’ performance during races. In addition, the Grand Jury heard testimony that another trainer permitted the grooms and exercise riders who worked for her to administer shocks to horses to get them to run faster. That trainer, the Grand Jury found, had been “romantically involved” with another trainer at Penn National, David Wells.
Devon Horse Show Will Stay at Devon, New President Says
by Marcella Peyre-Ferry - February 2015
There are no plans to move The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. That is the message new Horse Show President Richard O'Donnell wants to stress as he steps into the leadership position amid a sea of rumors and speculation.
"It's not going to go away. If anything, it's going to survive another 100 years - that's my goal," O'Donnell said. "Devon isn't moving anywhere. Devon is there to stay."
The Devon Board named O'Donnell as president and Wayne Grafton as new Board Chairman after removing President Sara Cox Lange and Chairman Henry L. Collins III at a special meeting held December 22. Following the announcement, social media was humming with speculation that the new leadership had ties with developers with their eye on the showgrounds, which could be sold for development while the show moved to a venue many miles to the west.
Big Horses Bring High Hopes for 2015
by Terry Conway - February 2015
For Divine Fortune, it's been a long and winding road.
It's thirty-six years and counting since the last Triple Crown winner. Many racing fans were convinced they were about to have that spell broken when "golden boy" California Chrome stepped into the Belmont Stakes starting gate last June. As the race unfolded, California Chrome was pinned against the rail for most of the trip and in the late going wasn't able to produce his typical powerful stretch run as Tonalist ended up winning, with California Chrome tied for fourth.
Although racing's Holy Grail slipped away, 2014 turned out to be a sensational year. This year could be even better. The older male division looks to be more promising than any in recent history. California Chrome and Bayern, the Haskell and Pennsylvania Derby winner and Breeders' Cup Classic champion, already have proved they are exceptional. So too has Shared Belief, who was unbeaten headed into the BC Classic at Santa Anita Park last Nov. 1.
Help! My Boyfriend is Jealous of My Horse
by Malorie de la Mare - February 2015
This seems almost more like a relationship question than a horse question. But I suspect you’ll have some valuable advice for me. I have a boyfriend and a horse—that’s two separate entities. The horse is wonderful, and I truly enjoy being with him and spending time with him even when I don’t get to ride him. We do exclusively trail riding, and an occasional hunt. Boyfriend doesn’t like horses, and especially doesn’t like my horse. He says that the horse takes up too much of my time. My boyfriend and I have been living together for a couple of years, but I’ve had my horse for about seven years. Both my boyfriend and I work and we share lots of friends. We also each have a small group of separate friends. Mine are almost all related somehow to horses. His are almost all related to his great passion: golf. I’ve calculated that, on average, I spend about 14 hours a week with my horse. During golf season, my boyfriend spends about 20 hours a week playing golf. When golf season is over, he and his friends go to football games, or they go to bars and watch football games. Personally I think that having a “separate” passion is a good thing. I don’t begrudge him his golf games or his football games. Why do you think he gets so uptight about my horse? What do you think I should do?