The New York State Gaming Commission closed its case against top coach Linda Rice on Tuesday after reviewing details of inside information Rice reportedly received from the race bureau between late 2011 and 2015 on the fourth day of testimony. Closing the Commission’s case, rice advisor Andrew Turro moved to dismiss the Commission’s charges against them.
Turro argued that the commission failed to provide sufficient evidence that Rice had obtained information from former racing bureau staff, Jose Morales and Matt Salvato, and that there was no specific NYSGC or New York Racing Association rule that allowed the racing bureau staff to do so forbidden to provide trainers with the names of horses that had competed in a race prior to the draw.
Morales and Salvato have testified that they provided horse names and previous records of performance for races prior to the draw, first by fax and later by email – something that has been witnessed by senior racing office management is expressly prohibited. They also testified that Rice made them financial gifts that they believed would be considered for providing the information.
Reis is charged under government regulatory language which “prohibits acts that are contrary to and harm the best interests of racing, generally corrupt and inappropriate acts and practices relating to racing.” During Tuesday’s hearing, which consisted entirely of testimony and levels of cross-examination and referral examination from NYSGC steward Braulio Baeza Jr., Turro pointed out that the NYRA and NYSGC codes do not specifically set out what is permissible to exchange information or not at the race office.
NYSGC attorney Rick Goodell pointed out that the language prohibiting licensees from acting “not in the best interests of racing” may be broad, but it is standard in many places and its legality has been confirmed multiple times. Goodell informed the hearing officer that Rice had borrowed Morales money more than once and that she had not been repaid on those loans. Morales and Salvato had previously stated that Rice also sent cash or checks in envelopes to employees at the race office.
Clark Petschek, the hearing officer on the case, denied Turro’s request for dismissal.
While Turro has not yet made his opening statement on the case, he also appeared to question how useful the information was to Rice, pointing to instances where Rice lost races after receiving information from Morales prior to the draw. It is also true that since the entries were still open at the time Morales and Salvato Rice sent information, horses could enter or exit the race after receiving preliminary entries, but before the draw. NYSGC attorney Rick Goodell also pointed out cases where Rice’s horses had won races or otherwise done well, where Morales’ emails indicated he had sent her information.
The hearing on November 18 and 19 has two more days for the defense to present their case. It remains unclear when Petschek could make a decision after the hearings are over.
See previous coverage of the hearing here and here
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