Edited Release — The following statement was released by the Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs and Jeff Gural on Friday, Aug. 27.
The Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs and Jeff Gural have been named in a lawsuit initiated by a number of Standardbred owners who allege to have been excluded from racing at the three tracks as a result of their patronage of trainer Rene Allard.
Allard was among more than 30 racing related individuals indicted and arrested in March 2020 by the United States Department of Justice for offenses relating to the systematic and covert administration of illegal performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to racehorses. He was later included in a superseding indictment filed in federal court in December 2020. The charges remain pending.
The plaintiffs named are Kapildeo Singh, Lawrence Dumain, Ira and Brian Wallach, Yves Sarrazin, Erlin Hill, Bruce Soulsby and Alan Weisenberg, who in their complaint admit that they have an interest in horses stabled by Allard in Florida over the winter of 2020-2021. The complaint alleges that the plaintiffs were the victims of a conspiracy by Gural to exclude their horses from racing at the three tracks to gain a “competitive advantage.”
“It’s a little discouraging that when you’re trying to clean up the drug problem, we now have to hire an expensive lawyer to defend us against this lawsuit, which essentially calls me dishonest,” said Meadowlands President Jeff Gural. “Worse yet, we get no cooperation from the horsemen who love to complain about the drugs but don’t lift a finger to help us catch the perpetrators. The lawsuit is without merit. We will vigorously defend against these allegations and look forward to being vindicated in court.”
According to ustrottingnews.com, the complain was filed on Aug. 23 in the U.S. District Court Northern District of New York. An initial conference before Magistrate Judge Miroslav Lovric has been set for Nov. 24, 2021 at 10 a.m. via teleconference.