The Biggest Horse Racing Scandals
Horse racing is a sport that always attracts attention, but not necessarily for the right reasons. Over the years there have been several scandals that have rocked the racing world and affected the horses, the jockeys and those who bet on them. Whether you enjoy, Caulfield Cup, Grand National, Kentucky Derby or Geelong Cup betting, knowing a bit about the horses makes placing solid wagers simple. But sometimes, things happen behind the scenes that affect the outcome of a race…
Let’s take a look at the biggest scandals and upsets that were caused by criminal intent and shadowy underworld figures that had a huge impact on the racing world.
2002 Breeders Cup
Chris Hahn, a computer programmer and 2 of his friends thought manipulating bets on the 2002 Breeders Cup was a good idea. Hahn did a little bit of rigging behind the scenes, and with a bit of technological manipulation arranged that the trio would take home a whopping $3 million. But they came a bit unstuck when a 43-to-1 longshot won, making one of them the sole winner of a pick six. They were caught out, and all 3 pleaded guilty to rigging the betting.
Damian Oliver Betting Scandal
When a jockey puts down $10,000 on another horse winning in a race he is competing in, that’s a sure-fire red flag. Just how hard he’ll work to see his horse cross the finish line first is seriously debatable if he’s got money riding on another. Damian Oliver was a successful jockey with a good record, but his 2010 wager caused immediate suspicion, especially when he pocketed a profit of $11,000 in winnings, and he was banned for racing from 8 months.
The Fine Cotton Ring In
An Australian thoroughbred, Fine Cotton was embroiled in a ring-in scam in the mid 1980’s. Fine Cotton wasn’t a great runner, but was often allowed to compete in races way beyond his class. The plan to swap him out with a better horse that would race as him was hatched, but due to time constraints the masterminds couldn’t find the same colour steed. Instead, they resorted to dying another horse using women’s hair products, and when they forgot to dye the white stripes down the back of the legs, they resorted to white paint. On race day the fake Fine Cotton came first, raising suspicions. After closer inspection, 6 people received life long bans from the sport and for participating in what wasn’t even really a very good scam to begin with!
Jockeys have always been a particularly naughty bunch and it seems that their reputation is not without reason. In the 1990’s the feds were bugging a suspected drug dealer by the name of Victor Spink in the hope of catching him in a dodgy deal. What they caught instead was a number of phone calls between Spink and 4 very prominent jockeys, arranging a race fix that would net them each $20,000! The fixing ring was bust and their scam blown wide open, once again bringing the sport into disrepute.