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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ledfords Get the Boot

- The New Jersey Racing Commission threw the book, and a couple of sulkies at driver Eric Ledford and his trainer-father Seldon, suspending the two for 10 1/2 years for a litany of violations, most notably, the use of the blood-doping agent Aranesp to enhance the performance of their horses.

Eric Ledford, according to the ruling, "did conspire with other licensees to engage in corrupt and fraudulent practices relating to racing insofar as Mr. Eric Ledford did accept a performance enhancing substance that is not approved for use in horses, specifically Aranesp, a brand of Erythropoietin, from a licensed veterinarian." As a result, he was suspended five years and fined $5,000. [Harness Link]
The father was also cited for the “possession of a shockwave therapy machine by your employees, in your stabling area" Ledford’s assistant and his wife were suspended for eight years, and his vet for seven. The reaction from the senior Ledford’s attorney was predictable.
"Seldon Ledford is confident that he will be completely exonerated once he receives a fair hearing before impartial judges who are not paid employees of the racing commission….. All of these folks intend to fight this suspension and to clear their good names no matter how long it takes." [NJ Star Ledger]
Well, what did you expect? “Yeah, you caught us, we did it?” About as likely as hearing the White House say: “Yeah, we knew all along that all that stuff about mobile biological weapons labs was bullshit.”

The strong circumstantial evidence of “mass quantities of drugs and syringes "all over the house" + inexplicable reversals of form = what, do you think we’re stupid?” won’t necessarily work in a real court of law. So we certainly haven’t heard the last of this. The suspensions are only effective in New Jersey – do you really think they’d be allowed to race in other states?

- Larry Jones, trainer of Josh’s Madelyn, who did well to rally from far back for second to Dubai Escapade yesterday, said that it was a familiar feeling. "Her half-sister (Madcap Escapade) used to hand us our head in a basket. It's a family tradition." [Lexington Herald-Reader] The winning trainer stated the obvious about this spot at Keeneland when he told the Form "Put her on the lead and put her on the rail, and you're pretty much home free."