Thoughts Re: Brooks Matter


Thoughts Re: Brooks Matter
While courts of law will ultimately decide the fate of Mr. Brooks and his various family enterprises, recent actions in the matter inspire questions that affect North American harness racing, its perception by fans, media and betters and the actions taken by harness racing governance (USTA, Standardbred Canada and state/province racing commissions). Several of these points are listed below:
·         Why did Standardbred Canada wait until late January to suspend the accused participants when the only “apparent change” in the case involved moving funds within Europe and Mr. Brooks being relocated from home confinement to jail?
·         Why did other governing organizations such as the USTA and New Jersey Racing Commission affect its suspensions a week after Standardbred Canada’s action?
·         Did these suspensions cover all Brooks’ related party entities (e.g., Tactical Armor Products, the breeder of many Brooks’ horses)?
·         What affect do the suspensions and stoppage of transfers involving Brooks’ horses have on non-related parties that may have acquired horses from Brooks but the transfers have yet to be processed?
·         Where do the suspensions leave trainers currently in charge of Brooks’ racehorses, two year olds and breeding stock? Are trainers and other creditors able to place liens on horses and force their sale to satisfy creditors when the USTA and Standardbred Canada have a stated ban on transfers? Can suspended owners lease their racing stock to non-related parties during this period?
·         What elements of the Brooks case set it apart from other ethics situations, such as use of performance enhancing medications, operation of stables in “phantom names”, racing rule violation s and the like, which may affect the betting public?
·         Why have other state/province racing commissions not affected consistent suspensions of accused or even guilty parties when ethics issues become widely publicized?
While we do not have answers to these questions, and the Brooks case has yet to be played out in the courts, this situation reveals weakness in the consistent governance of harness racing in North America and the perceived ethics issues that likely have a negative impact on pari-mutuel wagering and the industry’s attractiveness to new and existing owners and investors.

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