2 April 2006

Blood Doping, Improve Times by 2 seconds?

One blogger brought up Sheldon Ledford's unually high winning percentage back in early February suspecting something was fishy.

Now with the sweep a couple of days ago, more is coming out:

'The State Police's horse racing squad leveled charges yesterday that something more sinister was behind the rise: illegal blood doping that improved the horses' times by two seconds or more.

State troopers arrested Ledford's son, Eric, a top driver at the Meadowlands who won the famed Hambletonian in 2002. Eric Ledford was arrested in the drivers' room at the Meadowlands before last night's races, Detective Sgt. William Shurts said.

Earlier in the day, State Police arrested a veterinarian and a trainer who work for Ledford, along with the trainer's wife, on charges they rigged races by giving horses endurance-enhancing drugs that made them run faster.

No charges have been filed against Seldon Ledford although the investigation is continuing, said Lt. John Zulawski, who is in charge of the horse racing squad.

Troopers seized significant quantities of the banned drug Aranesp from the homes of veterinarian John Witmer and trainer Ryan Dailey, said state Deputy Attorney General Christine D'Elia. She said they also confiscated suspicious liquids and syringes from Showplace Farms in Englishtown, where Ledford Racing rents stable space.

"They were doping horses with a foreign substance to make them win races," Zulawski said. "It's a detriment to the horse racing industry."'

***I'm suspect of any trainer who wins over 22% of his races in either harness or thoroughbred racing. Whenever money is involved, there is always someone out to beat the system.

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