WINDSOR, ON, Nov. 8 /CNW/ - Officers from the Ontario Racing Commission's Equine Medication & Controlled Drug Task Force who are seconded from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) have charged three Windsor residents as a result of an investigation into the use of non-therapeutic, performance enhancing substances on Ontario race horses.
On November 7, 2010 OPP officers from OCEB, as well as the Essex OPP detachment, the Windsor Police Service and the OPP Assets Forfeiture Unit, assisted the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) Task Force members and Special Constables in the execution of search warrants at a Windsor residence and a Tecumseh horse stable.
The OPP has charged: 1) Christopher HASKELL, age 33 of Windsor
2) Cassie NANTAIS, age 24 of Windsor and
3) Derek RIESBERRY, age 40 of Tecumseh.
The accused have all been charged with one count each of cheat at play, fraud, and offences under the Pari-mutuel (betting) regulations of the Criminal Code. All charged persons have been released on an Undertaking which prohibits involvement in horse racing. They are to appear in Windsor court on January 5, 2011.
In addition to the charges, police seized drugs, medications and documents related to the criminal investigation, as well as offence related property including business vehicles and horse trailers.
Horse racing in Ontario is one of the most closely monitored and regulated sports in Canada. The vigilance is based on a philosophy of intelligence-led regulation, and the unique partnership of the racing community, the OPP, and the ORC. As a result, Ontario is recognized as a world leader of investigations into criminal and regulatory offences related to horse racing.
The investigation is continuing and police encourage anyone with knowledge of criminal activity to contact their local police or Crime stoppers.
If the parties charged are in fact guilty, and their consequences are more than a slap on the wrist, this should be very good for horse racing in the long run.
Will it cause more betting? Not very much. Those who are staying away from horse racing aren't being deterred by the use of untestable drugs, but either have no interest in betting or they are betting where they last much longer.
However, it creates the foundation for non cheating horsemen to flourish. They will get a chance to grow as they will now most likely be getting a bigger share of purses available. If it plays out right, this will create more owners. More owners usually means more Horseplayers being introduced, though for Horseplayers to stick, takeout needs to be reduced.
The big question here is that if you are a horseman using non testable drugs like ITPP or snake or cobra venom, would you be scared straight by this arrest, or do you need more convincing?
See also Pull The Pocket, who I just found out, beat me to the punch by an hour.