NJ Racing Commission ups fines for Navarro, Gindi
by Frank Angst, Blood-Horse
The New Jersey Racing Commission Sept. 20 followed the recommendations of Monmouth Park stewards to fine owner Randal Gindi and trainer Jorge Navarro for conduct “extremely detrimental to racing”—referencing their behavior documented in a Youtube video.
The stewards fined Gindi and Navarro $5,000 each but noted that the maximum fine they can levy is $5,000 and said larger fines are appropriate. The stewards recommended the NJRC increase Navarro’s fine to $10,000 and Gindi’s fine to $20,000. At its regular meeting Sept. 20 at Monmouth Park, the racing commission did just that.
“The commission agreed with the stewards,” said NJRC executive director Frank Zanzuccki. “The commission was offended by this conduct. They were disappointed that members of the industry who are prominent members of the industry would act that way. They’re disappointed that they engaged in conduct that would affect, or potentially could affect, the integrity of the industry.”
Zanzuccki said Navarro attended the meeting and did directly address the commission. He apologized for his conduct and said he would never again be engaged in any similar conduct in the future. Gindi did not attend the meeting or send a representative.
The video shows Gindi and Navarro watching a race at the Monmouth sports bar Aug. 4 with Gindi becoming vocal as the race concludes. Gindi said they were watching a horse trained by Navarro’s brother, Marcial Navarro, reach the wire first in the final race that day at Gulfstream Park. Gindi yells, “The Juice Man,” and later says, “That’s the way we do it. We (expletive) everyone.”
In the ruling, the stewards levied $5,000 fines for each man—the maximum the stewards can issue in New Jersey—but they recommended the NJRC increase the fines for both men.
When the stewards released their recommendation earlier this month, Gindi said his comments were directed at a horseplayer seated nearby with whom he had argued three months earlier. The 50-year-old owner from Brooklyn, NY, said before the Sept. 20 meeting that he regrets his behavior, will accept the fine, and has learned a lesson. Navarro said he regrets his actions and was embarrassed when he saw his behavior on video.
“Monmouth Park has done nothing but good things to me. I’m the leading trainer of the place and it was an embarrassment to me when I saw that video. As far as the fine, I believe they’re right. I’m the leading trainer there and I should not be acting this way,” Navarro said when the stewards released their decision. “It’s an embarrassment to me, to horseplayers, to my family, my owners, and my fellow trainers to be acting that way. I want to apologize to all of them.”