The following statement was released by the Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs and Jeff Gural on Friday August 27th.
The Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon Downs and Jeff Gural have been named in a lawsuit brought by a number of Standardbred owners who allege they were barred from racing at all three tracks due to their patronage of trainer Rene Allard.
Allard was among more than 30 race-related individuals charged and arrested in March 2020 by the United States Department of Justice for offenses related to the systematic and covert administration of illegal performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to race horses. He was later included in a superseding indictment filed in federal court in December 2020. The charges remain pending.
The named plaintiffs are Kapildeo Singh, Lawrence Dumain, Ira and Brian Wallach, Yves Sarrazin, Erlin Hill, Bruce Soulsby and Alan Weisenberg, who in their complaint admit to having an interest in the horses lodged by Allard in Florida during the winter of 2020-2021 The complaint alleges that the plaintiffs were victims of a conspiracy by Gural to exclude their horses from racing at all three tracks to gain a “competitive advantage”.
“It’s kind of disheartening that when you’re trying to solve the drug problem, we now have to hire an expensive attorney to defend against this lawsuit, which I basically call me dishonest,” said Meadowlands president Jeff Gural. . “Worse still, we get no cooperation from riders who like to complain about drugs but don’t lift a finger to help us catch the culprits. The lawsuit is baseless. We will vigorously defend ourselves against these allegations and look forward to being vindicated in court.
According to ustrottingnews.com, the lawsuit was filed on August 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. A first conference before the investigating judge Miroslav Lovric has been set for November 24, 2021 at 10 a.m. by teleconference.