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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Worrisome Development?

After reading TD Thornton’s Not By a Longshot (now available in paperback, by the way) last year, I have a new appreciation for the life of claimers, their trainers and owners who take a chance on them. So, imagine my surprise that one of Thornton’s uglier characters, owner/wanna-be trainer Michael Gill, has emerged in the past week as a major player in claiming horses at Laurel. In fact, in the past 7 days (actually, 4 racing dates) Gill has claimed 15 horses at Laurel totaling $176,000! They include:

March 22
Race 4 Lexibout ($10,000)
Race 8 Red Gulch ($10,000)
Race 9 Deacon Gray ($10,000)

March 21
Race 1 Seattle’s Bodgit ($14,000)
Race 2 Smashing Glass ($10,000)
Race 3 Mad Scatter ($4,500)
Race 5 Maximum Glide ($10,000)
Race 6 Opinion Included ($20,000)

March 20
Race 1 Auspicious Girl ($7,500)
Race 2 Mary Ann’s Jet ($15,000)
Race 5 Very Very Sneaky ($5,000)
Race 8 Scheing E Jet ($25,000)

March 15
Race 1 Predator’s Pride ($5,000)
Race 2 Seaclipseofthemoon ($10,000)
Race 6 Bean ($20,000)

According to a 2003 New York Times article,

Gill created a small racing stable in New England in the mid-1980's, and his early days on the racetrack were largely uneventful. But in the summer of 1995 he fired the trainer Edwin Vazquez Sr. and began to train on his own. One of the first horses that ran with Gill as the trainer tested positive for the drug clenbuterol. Shortly thereafter, investigators found injectable drugs and hypodermic syringes when they searched his barn at Rockingham Park in Salem, N.H. Gill said he had continued to share a tack room with Vazquez and that the drugs belonged to Vazquez. (Vazquez could not be reached for comment.) New Hampshire racing officials barred Gill for 80 days. But his suspension was extended to three years when he failed to pay the $1,000 fine that accompanied the initial penalty.

So, who is listed as the trainer on all of Gill’s Laurel claims this week? Edwin Vazquez, Sr. What’s up with that?


race said...

Valerie, -is this the same Gill that was working for an owner a couple of years ago that had a very large stable?

Also--suggestion. I would enjoy (as others would), your comments on the Horses you pick in the Public Handicapper. C. Matters is a riot, one the of first ones I read every week. ---r

Sharon Crute said...

Uh-huh. I'd clue you in but I don't want to be thrown off any overpasses. Not this month anyway.

Valerie said...

Oh, Sharon, do tell! It was my understanding that Gill got out racing two years ago, but I guess I haven't been paying attention as to whether or not he had a string last year. I also wonder what track is going to let him on their grounds.

Kevin Stafford said...

This is the same Gill that ships in all those "Finger Lakes flyers", right?

I've got a friend from NY that comes down to laurel/pmilico a couple of times a year and bets the Gill horses religiously.

I never knew about his darker side until now.