01/29/2010 12:00AM

Gill allowed to enter at Penn


Officials at Penn National Race Course have accepted the entries of horses owned by Michael Gill for next Wednesday night's card, and asked the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission to investigate a number of recent breakdowns by Gill-owned horses.

The Grantville, Pa., track had not allowed Gill's horses to compete since Jan. 23, when one of his horses broke down and the jockeys refused to ride until his remaining horse on the card was scratched.

Gill, who won the Eclipse Award for top owner in 2005 and led all North American owners in wins last year, has had at least six horses suffer catastrophic injuries at Penn since Oct. 1. Gill said earlier this week that the trend is an aberration.

Eric Schippers, spokesman for Penn National Gaming, said Friday that a letter was sent Thursday to Michael Dillon, acting executive director of the commission, formally requesting that the commission "investigate this situation to determine what action, if any, needs to be taken" in regard to whether there are safety issues with Gill horses.

Schippers said necropsies of two Gill horses that recently suffered catastrophic breakdowns at Penn, Melodeeman and Laughing Moon, have been completed, and that results were to be reviewed at a Saturday meeting. Among those scheduled to be at that meeting are Gill, trainer Tony Adamo, and officials from the track and the commission.

"We are confident the commission will review this quickly, fairly, and diligently," said Schippers.

Laughing Moon broke down shortly past the wire after finishing third in the fifth race on Jan. 23. Citing safety concerns, jockeys agreed to ride only after the one Gill horse remaining on that program, Justin M, was scratched. Since then, Penn had been refusing to allow Gill horses to compete.

Gill has horses entered in five of the nine races Wednesday at Penn, with Francisco Garcia named as the jockey and Adamo as the trainer. Schippers said he was optimistic that the commission will have completed its review of the situation by then.