According to The Blood-Horse (here), the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission has upheld the right of racetracks to exclude individuals, including trainers, as they see fit.
It’s a long-established right, yet one that has caused some controversy of late.
In this case, both Penn National, in Grantville, PA, and Parx Racing (Bensalem, PA) had refused to accept entries from trainer Burton Sipp, a decision Sipp sought to overturn. Despite the exclusion from Pennsylvania’s tracks, Sipp-trained horses have made 135 starts in other states this year, according to Equibase. He has a total of 10 horses entered today at Mountaineer Park and Thistledown.
There is, some maintain, an inherent tension when tracks act to exclude trainers or owners who are duly licensed by the state. Earlier this year, Maryland state Senator Bryan Simonaire (R-Anne Arundel) introduced legislation that would have empowered the state Racing Commission to hear appeals of such exclusions. But, with opposition from the racetracks and a neutral position from the state’s horsemen’s group, the legislation died in committee.
I think there’s still some worry that the courts will restrict tracks’ right to exclude. Tracks, IMO, would be well-advised to establish due-process procedures, with rights to a hearing, counsel, etc., to better withstand court challenges by excluded licensees.
Interesting point, Steve. I wonder, though — aren’t tracks at some level concerned that the more they turn exclusions into a quasi-judicial process, the more likely they are to be second-guessed by the court system?