Back in November, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania made a splash when it announced that four people — three trainers based at Penn National Race Course and a clocker working at that facility — had been arrested.

Their offenses: the trainers had all allegedly administered or attempted to administer medications to their horses illegally, while the clocker had allegedly conspired with trainers to provide false and misleading workout times.

Those offenses, US Attorney Peter Smith said, amounted to federal crimes because they involved illegally altering the outcomes of sporting events simulcast across state lines.

Not so fast, a federal judge said last week.

U.S. Middle District Senior Judge William W. Caldwell has dismissed the charges levied against one of the four, trainer Samuel Webb.

Webb allegedly “was detected by track security personnel on May 2, 2013, in a stall at the racetrack in possession of hypodermic syringes, needles, and bottles of medications preparing to inject the horse Papaleo that Webb trained and which was scheduled to run in the sixth race that day.”  The discovery necessitated a scratch; Webb had received a 60-day suspension from the Pennsylvania Racing Commission for the offense.

The charges against trainers Patricia Rogers and David Wells and clocker Danny Robertson still stand.  All three have pleaded not guilty.

According to, Webb’s attorney, Terrence McGowan, argued that the government had overreached and had not presented any evidence that Webb had either used the interstate simulcast system to commit or further a fraud or that he benefited from the simulcasting of and interstate wagering on the races.