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Thoroughbred rep loses appeal over license requirement

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A representative of a Thoroughbred horse owners and breeders organization was required to have a license from the Indiana Horse Racing Commission to participate in the group’s activities at the state’s pari-mutuel racetracks, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.

The panel reversed a Marion Superior Court’s judgment that set aside and vacated an order from the commission barring Edmund Martin Jr. from racetracks because he failed to obtain a license in 2010. Part of Martin’s $41,000 salary is derived from gaming proceeds, according to the record.

As President of the Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, Martin had meetings at Hoosier Park in Anderson and Indiana Downs at Shelbyville. He was notified by the commission that he would be excluded from tracks until he received a license. He objected, and an administrative law found the exclusion notice was supported by evidence. The commission approved the ALJ’s order extending Martin’s exclusion until July 18, 2012.

A Marion Superior ruling vacated the order, but Judge Paul Mathias wrote for the Court of Appeals panel in Indiana Horse Racing Commission v. Edmund W. Martin, Jr., 49A02-1206-PL-512, that Martin participated in racing and therefore was required to carry a license.

“Protecting the integrity of the horse racing industry in Indiana is of utmost importance to the IHRC and the General Assembly. The industry 'has an unsavory, or at least a shadowed, reputation, growing out of a long history of fixing, cheating, doping of horses, illegal gambling, and other corrupt practices.' [Dimeo v. Griffin, 943 F.2d 679, 681 (7th Cir. 1991).] For this reason, the IHRC reasonably takes a broad view of the phrase 'participate in racing' to include those individuals who are directly or indirectly participating in pari-mutuel racing,” Mathias wrote.

"Martin has not established that the IHRC’s decision was arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law, and its decision was supported by substantial evidence. Martin was required to be licensed pursuant to Indiana Code section 4-31-6-1 and rule 5.5-1-1(a) because he was the ITOBA’s executive director in 2010 and an active participant in the ITOBA’s activities at Indiana’s horse racing tracks. For all of these reasons, we reverse the Marion Superior Court’s order setting aside and vacating the IHRC’s order excluding Martin from IHRC grounds and remand this case with instructions to reinstate the IHRC’s order and exclusion notice."    

 

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