Keeneland Bans ‘Indian Charlie’ Newsletter From Grounds

Keeneland officials have notified Ed Musselman not to distribute newsletter

Keeneland officials have notified Ed Musselman, creator of the popular “Indian Charlie” newsletter, that the one-sheet humorous bulletins he writes and distributes are not welcome on Keeneland’s grounds.

Musselman received a letter Oct. 1 that was dated Sept. 20, 2018, from Keeneland director of security Phillip E. Gardner, and signed by Gardner, Keeneland president and CEO Bill Thomason, and Keeneland vice president and chief operating officer Vince Gabbert informing him the newsletter, which  is distributed during race meets and sales, “is not allowed to be distributed, by any fashion, on Keeneland grounds … indefinitely.”

The ban includes Keeneland’s main grounds, the Rice Road training center, Red Mile Horse Racing Center, the Thoroughbred Club, and the Thoroughbred Training Center, all owned and/or operated and maintained by Keeneland management.

Gardner states that any failure to follow Keeneland’s request will result in a formal ejection notice being served to Mussleman and any of his employees.

“Once a formal ejection notice is served, and subsequently violated,” said the letter, “the Lexington Police Department will be asked to intervene, and Keeneland management will pursue criminal procedures against all ejected parties as applicable.”

The “Indian Charlie” newsletter and Musselman himself had been ruled off Churchill Downs in 2014 after a controversy arose over a piece Musselman wrote about backstretch workers. Keeneland honored that ban, according to Bob Elliston, Keeneland’s vice president of racing and sales. Eventually, Churchill Downs relented and Keeneland followed suit, but, according to Elliston, Keeneland made the stipulation that Musselman not distribute the newsletter on its grounds.

“When our director of security observed Musselman distributing the newsletter during the recent September sale,” said Elliston, “he was reminded not to do so.”

Musselman maintains that Keeneland officials have known for the past several years that he has been distributing “Indian Charlie” around the Lexington track, and that the newsletter has been available in the track kitchen, racing office, and barn area.

“Keeneland officials are reacting to specific recent articles in the newsletter,” Musselman said. “Keeneland is a great place and I can’t knock it. I respect its private property rights and I will go paperless for any editions that come out during Keeneland events.”

Musselman, who has been producing the “Indian Charlie” sheets since 1994, said the next “Indian Charlie” newsletters are scheduled for Oct. 21-23 around the Fasig-Tipton October Sale.

Mott Reaches Settlement With NY In Medication Case

Four-year-old dispute over alleged positives changed how state handles samples.


Trainer Bill Mott has reached a court settlement with the New York State Gaming Commission after a nearly four-year legal battle concerning a disputed medication overage from September 2014.

Mott agreed to take a seven-day suspension, effective July 5-11, and pay a $1,000 fine to end the case, which began when Saratoga Snacks, a horse he trained, was found to have two alleged medication overages in tests conducted after an allowance race at Belmont Park on Sept. 20, 2014. The NYSGC originally imposed a 15-day sanction against Mott for overages of Banamine and Lasix that were for such excessive amounts that they seemed to defy logic.

Mott steadfastly claimed the testing, conducted by New York’s contract lab at Morrisville State College, was incorrect, and he was backed by testimony from the two veterinarians who administered medication to the horse the week of the race.

Further, Mott raised as a central issue the failure of the lab to provide him a sample of the horse’s blood (plasma) with which to do a “split sample” test at an independent laboratory. Mott sued state regulators and stewards, claiming he was denied his constitutional right to challenge the alleged overages. In subsequent testimony, evidence was introduced showing a continuing pattern of New York regulators denying samples to horsemen for split-sample testing for two decades. As a result of the Mott case, a new agreement was reached at the beginning of this year guaranteeing that a second dose of blood would be pulled from horses and kept in a separate refrigerator, making split samples available to horsemen who want to challenge called overages.

“A settlement doesn’t make either side happy,” said Drew Mollica, Mott’s attorney. “But Bill changed the way they do business by holding their feet to the fire. Split sampling is now in New York because of Bill Mott. Off all his accomplishments in his Hall of Fame career, this is his shining hour because he didn’t wage this battle for himself, but for other horsemen.

“We exposed the failure of the prior New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association administration, which let this due process travesty go on, knowing its membership was being prosecuted without the ability to challenge evidence.

“This case could have gone on another three or four years, and we believe in our hearts we would have won.”

Said Mott, “I settled this last week just to get the thing behind me. The testing was flawed, the overages were excessive, and we didn’t get the right to defend ourselves. That’s what the fight was about, them saying you had a right to a split sample when you really didn’t.

“I’ll take a few days away from training and do some work around the house. It’s good to get this behind me, and I’m hoping the horsemen’s group takes the initiative to work on these issues as a group instead of people having to do it individually.”

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