occasions Dillon happily informed the court that Penn National gave him
a letter telling him what a good job he was doing. So the taxpayer would take the hit. I claimed horses from people
that were cheating and winning races unfairly to defraud the betting
public. They could possibly lose that license if they
were operating a dangerous track. What if
I told you he has just given a sworn deposition, under oath, that they
were never were dangerous? What jockey would know better if my horses
were sound than the jockey that was riding them all? How could any other
jockeys say anything if they didn’t ride them? Also, what if Otero and
Jockey Clinton Potts just said under oath that they did not give anyone
express permission to use their names on the jockey petition?
My dream was always to win the Kentucky Derby; instead this has been my
living nightmare. In fact in 2008, just one year before, it had fourteen fatal
breakdowns in two weeks. Want proof? Simply walk inside of the casino and then
walk out back to the stables where the horses live. Dillon also declared our innocence. The vast majority went back to Penn National.
I guess miracles can happen.
Christopher McErlean is the Vice President of Gaming at Penn National. I was trying to create a path to
operating a successful business in the horse racing industry that I
loved so that other owners could do the same. It seems they rely heavily on reading The
Blood-Horse magazine. This is the same organization that I have paid more
money into than any other person. They do not like cutting up their share of the pie. Do you think the trainers would
tell the owners that they lost their $40,000 claiming horse for $20,000
because they were cashing a bet offshore or would they say that Gill
made it a $40,000 horse because he was cheating? What do you think?
So Krulock had the two top racing outfits in Penn National using his
jockeys. They sent Gail
Emerson to my farm. So why would they want me out?
I got into Penn National when John Krulock (agent for jockeys Thomas
Clifton and Willie Otero) offered me 49 stalls if I rode his Jockeys
first call. They still had major issues two
months after I left. I made it possible for the
trainer to make money and the owners to make money, rather than have the
trainer survive by cheating the owner.
In fact they did not even investigate before or after ejecting me or
Adamo, not one of them. Sometimes the thing that separates the
haves and the have-nots is opportunity.
In fact in a federal trial held last week, Michael Dillon, former Acting
Executive Secretary of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission said
under oath that he spoke with three jockeys about their concerns, one
was Clifton and he just could not remember the other two. But they blamed me, not the track.
Penn National Race Track in Grantville, Pennsylvania is, like other race
tracks, a closed community. Typically, trainers survive by
finding a new owner before the old owner goes broke.
So, if you had a couple of Commissioners that you could manipulate, I
would say it was a hell of an insurance policy and defense Attorney
Augusto was the puppet master who protects the tracks and dials in the
Commissioners. That is
not what I want.
I really tried to make a difference. It was not a coincidence
that it is these three jockeys that led a boycott of riding my horses in
Now I am going to get really insidious.
Those same complaining owners bought them, the same complaining trainers
trained them and the same complaining jockeys rode them. For all those
concerned, you have taken your best shot at me and I am still standing. He was pulling
horses to prevent them from winning. This is the exact
accusation I had made when I fired him. In fact Delahoussaye
still trained and he had his other owners buy my horses that wound up
back in the same stalls that they were in when I owned them a day
before. Then it became very clear. Only the Commission could take their
license away. I have spent my career defending myself
from the corrupt, with their fear of you hearing me. Since that wasn’t possible, Krulock turned to what he
could control…the jockeys. I noticed how one Commissioner after another on the stand
appeared more hesitant, guarded and confused than the one before.
There came a time in late 2009 that I fired Willie Otero. Those that wanted me out would have
given their eyeballs to have come up with a bad test to make it easy to
get rid of me. I had raced over 1,400 starts in 2009 outside of Penn National
and only had one breakdown. I wasn’t doing
anything special. As reported in the Thoroughbred Times, “It
was a surprise visit, and I found nothing wrong in the facility,” said
Gail Emerson, a former trainer. Krulock said that he could not do that because
Dana was riding first call for my biggest competitor, Stephanie Beattie.
Penn National doesn’t want you to pay attention to the horses; they want
you in the casino. I knew at that moment that since
Krulock got me the stalls at Penn National that he could take them away.
Not convinced yet? If you think Penn National cares about jockeys and
horses, why are they racing at 12:00 midnight in the middle of January
instead of 12:00 noon? Do you think it is colder at midnight than at
noon? Do you think it is more likely to have a frozen track in the
middle of January? Isn’t it possible it is about making money? Otherwise
they would be racing during the day. The president of
HBPA at Penn National at the time was Stephanie Beattie, my biggest
competitor. They had the State of Pennsylvania do their dirty work and we
learned in last week’s trial that Commission’s lawyers warned them that
I could sue the Commission. Even when the
subject was about life and limb, he forgot. “It was clean, and the horses were in
I came into horse racing hiring the little guy and giving them an
opportunity to prove themselves. Instead what I got was an anonymous
phone call to the Large Animal Protection Society. I was able to accomplish my goals because I believed they were
possible. There was actually one trainer with more total
breakdowns with only about 600 starts. Every year the track
has had major issues with breakdowns. When the largest stable in the country moves in, it is cause for
concern. Weeks later, Otero was suspended from
racing for making no effort for a horse to win. I also quickly learned that it is possible for people to be
You may remember reading Otero saying my horses were dangerous. Penn National has me thrown out;
they knew they did not have a reason so they gave it to the Commission. I made $3.1
million dollars there in 2009. They raced a total of 820 times
during the year. Again, that’s seven
breakdowns at Penn National with 820 starts, and one out of 1,400 starts
at other tracks.
Let’s move on to the National Horsemen’s Benevolence & Protective
Association (HBPA). It is journalism, like
the recent New York Times article and a former ESPN interview,
that have made it difficult to stay in business and impossible for me to
come back by painting me as “The Most Hated Man in Racing” where I might
have been the most honest.
You would be interested to know how little these Commissioners know
about horse racing. Out of the 100 jockeys I am
going make a guess at the other two: Dana Whitney and Willie Otero. I have now
just introduced you to all the players.
. I bought horses from the big
guys 90% of the time, not the little guys. “The slippery slope is if the measurement or action taken is
going to be on when this occurs, as it may also involve others who
people feel are not an issue.” McErlean wrote this in his email, a copy
of which I have in my possession.
I am no longer in horse racing, but I spent $51 million dollars from
1999 to 2009 on horses. They want you in the Casino at
Penn National knew that I had complained multiple times about the racing
me this, what is more controversial than telling the truth?
The Commission and Dillon listed three separate complaints: 1) Penn
National, 2) Jockeys and 3) the HBPA. I would not be
bought and I would not be intimidated, that is a dangerous combination
in horse racing.
All my horses were sold. I had a passion and a love for this industry. Penn National operates
under a license, as I do. At the time,
horses stabled on the grounds did not get even a vet check before they
Every time I see my name it is followed by the word, controversial. I was in horse racing for 33 years and have been told
that I have had more starts and won more races than any horse owner in
history. I claimed horses for $20,000 and won for $40,000. He seemed to be very
proud of that letter. I said that I would, but that I would not use Clifton as I
felt he was an inferior jockey. She was accused of shock waving horses by her
foreman/boyfriend and her grooms, but wrote a letter, representing horse
ownership, to the Commissioner saying I was bad for racing.
MANCHESTER, N.H.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Michael Gill Racing today made the following statement regarding horse
The Commission’s own investigators recognized the fact that the horses
were back running at Penn National and what I was saying was actually
true. This trainer was Stephanie
Beattie. They then said in last week’s trial that they never accused me of
having sore horses. This was more money than next the top 15 owners at
Penn National combined. I am not kidding, read the transcripts. More money than any owner made at any one
race track that year. I’m
sure they were the jockeys, Krulock’s jockeys, which was the reason for
Dillon’s sudden loss of memory.
So how did I get kicked out of Penn National? I just had 2,247 horse
races without a single bad test. Therefore, I think this qualifies me to speak about the
At the trial, I listened to three Commissioners (Hamm, Hannum, and
Sweeney) and the Executive Secretary Dillon. I then asked to have Dana Whitney
ride on all the horses. The barns are a
disaster and the track is dangerous, but the casino is just wonderful!
You tell me where Penn National is spending their money. My understanding
is that they do vet check now, why didn’t they then? I offered to have
the state vet at Penn National check all my horses on the grounds and at
my farm, Penn National declined. I noticed how they looked frequently at him for approval
Penn National can’t say they are concerned about horses and jockeys when
they don’t even vet check horses on their own grounds.
They believed that the Commission had immunities that they could hide
behind. To put this in perspective, if you combined all
of the race tracks across the country you might not have fourteen fatal
breakdowns collectively during a two week period. Sore at Penn, sound at Philly?
I went into racing knowing it was a business and I believed I could be a
champion. He must have
forgotten about an email he sent on January 24, 2010, just before my
ejection, stating that my trainers, Adamo and Delahoussaye had 3 and 4
breakdowns respectively for the year. They were cheating. No
offense to The Blood-Horse magazine, but it is not ALL that these
commissioners should know.
I will finish by telling you that in the purest sense I am a competitor,
I find no victory in cheating. So that is how they came at me.
It was my intent to have stayed in Horse Racing the rest of my life,
what better job to have than one that you love. There must have
been some magical wand that was waived to make them all instantly sound. By now it was a moot point. This was a horse that raced on the grass for
the first time, slipped and clipped heals. They have never come to my defense
because they are made up of horse owners and trainers that do not want
me in the industry because I am cutting up their pie. It is also ironic that I was still able to race at Philadelphia
Park, but not at Penn National, even though both are governed by the
same Pennsylvania commission.
I’m no longer in horse racing so I have no motive to share my story
other than the truth.
Penn National continues to be scrutinized for their unsafe track
conditions. When he could not give me Dana Whitney, I fired him as an agent
and the jockeys he represents. When you look at it, you see nothing but
locals. Krulock then gave me Willie Otero to
ride all my horses and then hired Dana Whitney. I watched them go up on the
witness stand, one after another saying that I had done nothing wrong. To my knowledge this was the only race track in the country where
all horses didn’t get checked by a veterinarian before each race.
I spent $51 million dollars in horse racing, why would I need to cheat?
If someone had a better horse in the race, I would buy it. They had nothing else. Look back at all my years in
racing and tell me this isn’t the truth.
He has commented publicly about my horses breaking down
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