08/25/2011 1:52PM

Pennsylvania grand jury seeks trainer license review


A Pennsylvania grand jury has recommended that the Pennsylvania Racing Commission review whether it should continue to grant licenses to trainers Anthony Adamo and Stephanie Beattie as part of a probe into races and trainers at Penn National Race Course.

The report, handed down in late July, will be the last issued by the grand jury, which was convened last year to consider evidence of potentially criminal activities at Penn National after jockeys refused to ride horses owned by Michael Gill, a boycott that set off a rash of accusations among competing trainers at the track and led to probes by federal investigators.

In the latest report, the grand jury said that David Wells, a trainer and a former boyfriend of Beattie, accused Beattie of telling exercise riders to administer electric shocks to horses during workouts, and then instructing jockeys to “simulate” the shocks during race rides. The report said that the practice would “induce the horse to run faster.”

Beattie did not respond to phone messages on Thursday. In an article on the Paulick Report website, Beattie said that Wells’s accusations were “a total lie.” The two dated for nine years, and now are competing trainers at Penn National.

Samantha Elliott-Krepps, the press secretary for the Pennsylvania Racing Commission, said on Thursday that the commission’s lawyers received the latest grand jury report last Friday and were still reviewing its recommendations.

The latest report did not contain any new accusations against Adamo, a former trainer for Gill who was banned from Penn National after the boycott. Following the ban, Adamo was suspended for three months by the racing commission on charges that he intended to administer a prerace milkshake – a concoction of baking soda and electrolytes – to a horse trained by Gill. Adamo said in a later interview that he intended to administer the milkshake after the horse ran to help it recover from the race.

According to Equibase statistics, Adamo has saddled four horses in 2011, winning with two of them. Adamo is a plaintiff with Gill in a lawsuit filed against the racing commission that claims the commission’s ban violated their constitutional rights.

The grand jury report also recommended that the racing commission pass a rule that would prohibit owners and trainers from giving gifts or cash to racing office personnel. In addition, the report recommended that the racing commission pass rules giving it jurisdiction over private training facilities. Gill’s horses were typically vanned into the track from his farm in Pennsylvania.