Bettor sues harness-racing trainer for loss linked to doping

March 08, 2018
Meadowlands racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

 

NEW YORK (AP):

An aggrieved harness-racing bettor has gone to court to recoup more than $31,000 in winnings he said he was cheated out of when a doped horse won a race in New Jersey two years ago.

Leading figures in harness racing said they had never before heard of such a lawsuit, which accuses the trainer of fraud and racketeering. The general practise is to reallocate the purse to other owners in the event a winning horse is later proven to have been doped, but not to pay back bettors.

The lawsuit, filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, represents an effort by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to open the gates for more litigation by bettors, which the animal rights group hopes would dramatically curtail illegal horse doping.

PETA contends that injured horses are sometimes dying on the tracks because they were doped illegally or overmedicated to keep them running when they should be recuperating.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jeffrey Tretter, an experienced gambler from Granite City, Illinois.

The lawsuit says Tretter placed wagers through an online betting site on a harness race at the Meadowlands Racetrack on January 15, 2016. The horses he picked to place first through fourth instead finished behind Tag Up and Go, who had been a long-shot in the race.

Meadowlands later revealed that Tag Up and Go had tested positive for EPO, a banned performance-enhancing substance, based on blood samples taken in December. As a result, trainer Robert Bresnahan Jr. was barred from competing at Meadowlands, but there was no redress for bettors such as Tretter.