BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (AP) _ Five horsemen were indicted Friday on charges they tried to fix races by injecting harness horses with substances designed to deaden pain or improve performance.
The investigation began in September at Saratoga Gaming and Raceway following a tip from people at the track that harness horses were being injected with cobra snake venom and Epogen.
Indicted by a grand jury on Friday were:
_William Barrack, 69, and Keith Barrack, 43, on two felony counts of first-degree scheming to defraud and fifth-degree conspiracy, three misdemeanor counts of interference with a domestic animal, and three misdemeanor counts of second-degree tampering with a sports contest. William Barrack also was charged with possession of a controlled substance.
_Marc Mosher, 38, Robert Moscone, 60, and Carl Forrester, 31, each was charged with two counts of fifth-degree conspiracy, a misdemeanor.
Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III said the grand jury probe began after a joint effort by the special investigations unit of the New York State Police and the New York State Racing and Wagering Board suspected horsemen were doping horses.
``We need to ensure the integrity of harness racing for the betting public,'' Murphy said.
The indictments charge the Barracks with giving a horse named Disco Force A snake venom on Oct. 26, 2006, and Epogen on Nov. 9, 2006. They earned $900 on the Oct. 26 race. It also charges them with wrongly giving a horse named Patsy B Happy the anti-bleeding drug Lasix on Nov. 3, 2006. They earned $540 in that race.
Reached at his home in Wappingers Falls, Moscone said: ``I don't know anything about it.'' He declined to answer other questions.
A phone listed in William Barrack's name in Beacon was disconnected Friday. Keith Barrack did not return a phone call seeking comment. A phone listed in Mosher's name in Montgomery was disconnected. A phone listing could not be found for Forrester. Lawyers for the men could not immediately be reached for comment.
The New York State Racing and Wagering Board suspended licenses for all but Forrester, a groom who is no longer licensed in the state. William Barrack has been a trainer since 2005 and his son, Keith, an owner and groom since 2004. Mosher, a groom, previously had his trainer and owner license permanently revoked, board spokesman Dan Toomey said. Toomey did not immediately know why the licenses were revoked. Moscone has been an owner since 1996.
``Saratoga Gaming and Raceway is fully cooperating with the district attorneys office,'' track management said in a prepared statement. ``We are confident that the results of this inquiry will help insure the integrity of Harness Racing in New York.''
The raceway management said none of the accused have stables or are currently racing at the track.
Epogen is used to treat anemia in people by boosting production of red blood cells. The drug can also enhance stamina by increasing the oxygen supply to muscles. Cobra venom acts as a nerve blocker to prevent sensations of pain.