A US punter has reached an out of court settlement after suing a harness racing owner and trainer after cheating him out of their winning when their doped horse won a race in 2016.
Punter Jeffrey Tretter sued trainer Robert Bresnahan Jr and owner J L Sadowsky after their horse Tag Up And Go tested positive for EPO in out of competition testing soon after winning a race at the Meadowlands track in January 2016.
Tretter took a first four bet on the race. He had the four horses that finished behind Tag Up And Go in the race with a dividend of $31,835 payable had his bet not been upset by the ‘winner’.
Tag Up And Go was later disqualified from the race but Tretter went to the U.S. District Court in New Jersey to chase his cash.
He found an unlikely ally to bankroll his case with the controversial animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) bankrolling his legal bills as part of its campaign against “illegal horse doping”.
Tretter’s lawsuit accused Bresnahan and Tag Up And Go’s owners of anti-racketeering laws, including the RICO Act, which has been used against the mafia, the Hells Angels and even football body FIFA.
Lawyers reached a settlement last week. Bresnahan and Sadowsky will pay Tretter $20,000 with $7500 of that amount to be donated to a racehorse adoption program.
The settlement also stipulates Bresnahan and Sadowsky do not admit liability in the case.
“We faced a lot of opposition because of the precedent involved, but I hope this will open the door for others to come forward and hold those responsible accountable for their blatant cheating at tracks across North America,” Tretter said in a statement to ESPN.
“Bettors must organize and go after the cheats for every verifiable dime that was lost.”
Bresnahan’s attorney Andrew Benedict told ESPN that PETA’s deeper pockets forced his client to settle the case out of court.
“It was rough for us to defend this case on all fronts, because of the amount of money that PETA was pouring into it,” Benedict said.
“It shows they had no evidence of criminal wrongdoing or they wouldn’t have settled so cheaply.”