07/29/2010 3:34PM

New York trainer has license revoked after labor probe

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The New York State Racing and Wagering Board has revoked the license from trainer Roger Horgan because of “financial irresponsibility” as it relates to a state Department of Labor probe into the underpayment of backstretch workers at New York Racing Association tracks.

Horgan, a former steeplechase rider, has not started a horse since last October and currently does not have any horses. He is working this summer as a freelance exercise rider.

Horgan was among the trainers who drew the attention of Department of Labor investigators in 2008 when the agency delved into violations of minimum wage and overtime laws affecting backstretch workers, including the hotwalkers, grooms, and night watchmen.

On July 10, 2009, according to the State Racing and Wagering Board, the Department of Labor issued an order to comply against Roger Horgan for $5,282.93 in overtime underpayments, civil penalties and interest, according to the a release put out by the board. Horgan did not respond to the order.

Horgan, who acknowledged he received a bill for $1,247 more than a year ago, said on several occasions he contacted the State Department of Labor, but claims he was never furnished with what laws he violated and what employees were underpaid.

“The penalties are absolutely way out of line,” Horgan said. “I was never furnished with a single explanation as to why I owe them $1,247. This is smearing my credibility and my reputation.”

According to a racing board spokesman, approximately 10 trainers received warning notices that they owed money for underpayments to employees and those trainers have settled with the Department of Labor.