07/19/2004 11:00PM

Track executive under fire


Gary Piontkowski, the chief executive officer of Plainridge Racecourse, a harness track in Plainville, Mass., allegedly took phone wagers and offered betting on credit to high rollers in violation of Massachusetts state law and could face criminal charges, according to a report compiled by the Massachusetts State Police.

Piontkowski, the state's racing commissioner before leaving government to head up first Foxboro Park and later Plainridge, reportedly allowed big bettors to wager via phone before account wagering was legalized.

Robert Kraus, Piontkowski's attorney, called the allegations, "A bunch of horse puck. I have not seen the report, but this investigation is nearly 5 years old, and the racing commission has never been able to make it clear what law Mr. Piontkowski broke."

Kraus said the investigation is retaliation by the state police unit that works at Plainridge for complaints Piontkowski lodged with the state against the unit. Those complaints led to an internal affairs investigation, which then uncovered the alleged phone and credit wagering.

Among the bettors named in the investigation is prominent Thoroughbred and harness owner Sanford Goldfarb, according to an article in Tuesday's Boston Herald. Goldfarb did not return a phone call Tuesday.

While the Herald article said that the report was "being sent to Attorney General Tom Reilly for possible prosecution," a spokesman for the attorney general, Corey Welford, said Tuesday that "nothing has been referred to us as of yet."