Appeal from the Order of the State Horse Racing Commission, in the case of In Re: George McCullough, No. 85-060PP, dated June 15, 1988.
Bernard L. Siegel, Of Counsel: Stanford Shmukler, for petitioners.
Randall N. Sears, Assistant Counsel, with him, John B. Hannum, Jr., Chief Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Colins and Smith, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins.
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Robert and Rhona Goldstein, d/b/a Scarlett Farm (petitioners) petition for review of an order of the State Horse Racing Commission (Commission) which ordered
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petitioners to return the purse won by their horse "Crown's Revenge" to the horseman's bookkeeper at Philadelphia Park.
On December 19, 1985, petitioners' horse finished first in the Seventh Race at Philadelphia Park. At the conclusion of this race, George McCullough, the owner of the second place finisher, "Oxford Star" filed a protest with the Stewards requesting that petitioners' horse be disqualified for a false start and that his horse be declared the winner. The Stewards disallowed this protest and the order of finish was permitted to stand. On December 26, 1985, petitioners received $7,200.00 as the winning purse.
On March 19, 1987, the Commission denied McCullough's initial appeal and affirmed the Stewards' decision. Petitioners, however, received a letter from the Director of Enforcement advising them that on May 20, 1987, as a result of McCullough's petition for reconsideration, their horse had been disqualified and that the $7,200.00 purse from the December 19, 1985, race was to be returned to the horseman's bookkeeper at Philadelphia Park within ten days. The Commission ordered the purse returned based on a finding that petitioners' horse broke early and, therefore, was a non-starter and should have been disqualified which would have rendered petitioners' horse ineligible for any purse money.
Petitioners' counsel then contacted the Commission requesting to see the documents concerning this matter. However, the petitioners were never granted access to the full record until after their appeal was filed with this Court and the record was submitted by the Commission. The Commission did, however, grant petitioners permission to address the Commission in an executive session to determine whether their horse qualified as a starter as defined in 58 Pa. Code § 161.3. The Commission, on June 15, 1988, refused to change its May 20, 1987, decision
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disqualifying petitioners' horse and ordering the purse ...