05/06/2009 12:00AM

Jockey, two others indicted


A federal grand jury has indicted a jockey and two other men for attempting to influence the results of races at Tampa Bay Downs, Great Lakes Downs, and Delaware Park, according to the indictment.

The indictment, released Wednesday, contends that two Detroit-area businessmen, Ghazi Manni and Mitchell Karan, paid jockey Ricardo Valdes and other "persons known and unknown to the grand jury" to hold horses in races at the three tracks held between December 2005 and December 2006. The indictment also states that Valdes attempted to recruit other jockeys to be part of the scheme, and that Manni and Karan made bets on the affected races.

The indictment, which charged the three men with a single count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, provides very little detail about the alleged scheme. No other jockey other than Valdes is named.

Late in 2006, Tampa Bay barred Valdes and six other jockeys, citing an ongoing investigation. However, investigators refused to comment on the nature of the charges. Other racetracks followed suit with bans.

According to other racing officials, however, the investigation was at least partly based on a large number of wagers cashed by bettors at Delaware Park on a race at Great Lakes Downs.

Manni and Karan were also named in a separate indictment on Wednesday charging that the two men paid University of Toledo football and basketball players to influence the results of games from 2003 to 2006.