The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is investigating alleged race fixing at the Dresden Raceway.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Dresden track says the claim has no merit.
Ray Kahnert, senior advisor of communications for the AGCO, confirmed with the Sydenham Current that an investigation is underway.
“AGCO Investigators in London received a call from a member of the public with concerns about racing at Leamington and Dresden,” Kahnert said.
“The AGCO review of this allegation is not complete. AGCO Racing Investigators continue to gather information.
Kahnert said anyone with information is encouraged to contact the AGCO.
People can call 519-668-7558 or toll free 1-800-522-2876.
Kahnert said under the authority of the Horse Racing Licence Act, 2015 (HRLA), the AGCO regulates horse racing in Ontario.
“The fairness and integrity of horse racing is of paramount concern to the AGCO,” Kahnert said.
“As this is an active investigation, that is about all I can tell you.”
Gary Patterson, the spokesperson for Dresden Raceway, told the Sydenham Current the allegation is ridiculous.
“To me in this day in age, it’s ludicrous to think there is anything like that going on,” said Patterson, who is the long-time announcer at the track.
“I think when they find that the investigation is done they’ll find there is no basis for anything. Dresden Raceway, Leamington Raceway, both are in the same boat. Both run by agricultural societies and everything is run on the up and up. On the track every race day we have to have two racing officials from the Alcohol and Gaming Commision. As well, there is a paddock judge and several other race officials sprinkled throughout the track to look for any anomalies, anything different. If you go a quarter of a mile too slow, you get fined.”
Patterson says he believes the person making the allegations should not remain anonymous.
“I’m disappointed that the person who made the allegations hasn’t been made public, because to me that speaks volumes,” Patterson said.
“When somebody is making an anonymous accusation, it’s just not right. I’m disappointed as well that they are questioning the integrity of the horse people, who work so hard to get a product to the track and they don’t race for the big money they used to race for. They’re working hard on making it go, on taking care of their animals properly, and to question their integrity is disappointing.”
Patterson said he’s also disappointed to see the integrity of the volunteers questioned as well.
“Dresden and Leamington are both volunteer based operations for the most part,” he said.
“Both are run by volunteer agricultural societies, and to question their integrity of these volunteers, I’m very disappointed that somebody would do this.”
Patterson added: “In the end I think Alcohol and Gaming will step out and they’ll find there was no wrongdoing, there is no basis for anything. They just have to do their due diligence because the claim was made. Unfortunately, maybe that process has to change. If somebody wants to step up and make a claim, they can make it known what is going on, why they are making a claim and who they are.”
In the meantime, Patterson said the Dresden Raceway will wait until the AGCO is finished with their investigation and they will continue to prepare for the 2018 racing season.
Back in December, the AGCO announced the Dresden Raceway will have 11 race dates this year.
For more on AGCO’s horse racing regulatory functions, click here.
– Photo credit: Nathan Vercauteren