Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National HBPA authored the following response to a piece written by Ray Paulick Wednesday regarding the outcome of the federal trial of trainer Murray Rojas in Pennsylvania:
The National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and Pennsylvania HBPA support clean racing in our sport. Period. Despite what Mr. Paulick writes on his website, Pennsylvania HBPA enacted sweeping changes at Penn National Racetrack years ago. July 11, 2017 will mark the sixth anniversary since the organization became the first in the nation to ban veterinarians from treatment stalls. They also mandated that only independent, third parties can administer race day treatments. These practices have become the national standard.
The National Owner and Trainer Legal Defense Fund, the Pennsylvania HBPA, as well as other HBPA affiliates, provided legal support for thoroughbred trainer Murray Rojas because they strongly believe the federal Department of Justice overreached on what is clearly a state regulatory issue.
The court correctly found Ms. Rojas not guilty of charges related to this attempt to set a new legal precedent. We also take issue with how the federal government applies unlimited resources against a member who is charged with a crime and brings them to the brink of bankruptcy. We support the ability of our membership to properly defend themselves in the court of law, and we respect the ultimate decision of the court.