4 April 2006

New Jersey Arrests Update

The New Jersey State Police has announced further details about a raid on the Seldon Ledford Stable and other locations, and the arrest of driver Eric Ledford and several other persons this past Friday, in connection with the execution of one dozen search warrants.

The Police, in a news release, said that unspecified quantities of drugs, including EPO (Erythropoietin), were seized during the search of the home of Ryan and Ardena Dailey, employees of trainer Seldon Ledford.

Aranesp, a potent, long-lasting form of Erythropoietin (EPO) and other schedule II and III narcotics were among the items seized. EPO helps red blood cells carry more oxygen to the muscles. Aranesp, the release said, does not produce antibodies in the horse’s bloodstream, and is said to be undetectable with current post-race antibody tests. The use of all forms of EPO is currently banned in horseracing.

The Police also froze the assets of a veterinarian John R. Witmer, 68, of Freehold, N.J., who was among those arrested on Friday and charged with conspiracy to rig a publicly exhibited contest.

Witmer’s bank accounts and assets, the release said, were valued at approximately $1 million, and the value of pharmaceutical items seized from Witmer was estimated to be in excess of $150,000.

Chris McErlean, vice president of racing operations at the Meadowlands, was quoted as saying “the Meadowlands is extremely concerned with the integrity of our races and the entire horse racing industry. The expectation of fairness in our racing and its results is our lifeblood.

“The New Jersey racetracks and horsemen pay over $2.7 million per year to the New Jersey Racing Commission to conduct drug testing, the Meadowlands is the largest contributor to a private investigative arm that works in the Standardbred industry (Standardbred Investigative Services), and we have been a leading proponent of detention barns -- requiring horses to be in a secured barn area, supervised by the Meadowlands, 24 hours prior to a race.

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